Editorials

New York Islanders Is Johnny Boychuk Worth Trading?

By Matt O'Leary
Apr 27, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) passes the puck during the first period in game one of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 27, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) passes the puck during the first period in game one of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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It’s somewhat of a quiet time for hockey right now, so now’s the time when all the “Armchair GM’s” come out. I fully intend to jump into the position of armchair GM a lot this summer so I raise this question: Should the Islanders try to trade Johnny Boychuk?

Johnny Boychuk is coming off a year in which he tied his career high in goals with 9. In two seasons with the Islanders he has 18 goals. When Garth Snow made this deal before the 2014-2015 season it caught many by surprise. In even more surprising fashion the Islanders locked him up to a 7 year deal through the 2021-2022 season.

I know a lot of people got on Boychuk for his play in the playoffs. I for one think it’s tough to judge a guy on just a three week sample. Overall I think Boychuk has played well so far for the Islanders and you can’t underestimate his presence as a veteran leader.

That being said when Travis Hamonic declared that he no longer wanted a trade things changed. It was supposed to be Hamonic who would help bring in a top 6 forward to improve the team. With Hamonic also to a long term deal the Islanders may have to move one of the two to get a star forward in here.

Johnny Boychuk vs Travis Hamonic

On one side you had people saying to trade Hamonic anyway and on the other you had people saying that Boychuk should be traded. Initially I thought I wanted the Islanders to hold on to both, although I think it will be necessary for one of the two to be moved, because I don’t think a big name (Stamkos) is coming here in free agency.

Of the two I think Boychuk is the one to move.  One major factor has to be age, Travis is just 25 years old where Johnny Boychuk is 32 years old.

Another factor is salary cap. Boychuk at the end of his deal will be 37 years old and he’ll still be a $6 million cap hit. While Hamonic is signed through 2019-2020 with a cap hit of just under $4 million a year. By the way he will still be under 30 when his contract expires.

In House Replacements

Besides the abundance of young forwards the Islanders have some defensive prospects, especially with the right handed shot. Ryan Pulock who got some playing time this past year is ready to step up in my opinion.

Similarly to Boychuk, Pulock has a big shot from the right side. The Islanders also have Adam Pelech and Scott Mayfield as well, both right handed shots. It’s one thing if we are talking about replacing a left handed shooting defenseman but the Islanders are more set to replace a right handed shooting defenseman. Would the Islanders be able to get by with:

Leddy-Hamonic

Hickey-Pulock

de Haan – Mayfield/Pelech

Next: Islanders Case For Milan Lucic

I think if you’re the Islanders you have to at least consider it. It may be worth the risk of downgrading defensively at a chance for a goal scorer. We know Garth Snow isn’t afraid to make a trade, he may have to again.

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