New York Islanders Need A Healthy Johnny Boychuk In 2017-2018
By Matt O'Leary
Johnny Boychuk missed a solid chunk of time with the New York Islanders in the 2016-2017 season due to a lower body injury. The Islanders need him healthy this year.
After a poor playoff performance in the 2015-2016 season with the New York Islanders, the hope was that Johnny Boychuk would bounce back and have a better year in 2016-2017. He missed time but he ended up putting together a decent season.
He finished with 23 points (six goals, 17 assists) and a plus 11 on the ice. Although, Boychuk spent a good portion of the year injured. He played in just 66 games, the lowest amount of games he’s played (excluding the strike-shortened year) since 2009-2010.
Especially with the loss of Travis Hamonic, the Islanders are going to need a healthy Boychuk this year in order to have a good defensive core.
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After the Nick Leddy and Travis Hamonic pair struggled for the majority of the first half of the season the Leddy – Boychuk combo was reunited. The two worked really well together, just like 2014-2015.
Leddy’s season began to turn around after the switch, while Hamonic had health problems of his own plus he still struggled once bumped off the top pair.
Even though Hamonic struggled last year, you can’t minimize his impact as a leader and as a core member of the defense. The Isles are going to have their hands full replacing the hole Hamonic left. Yes, I’m high on Ryan Pulock’s potential but, he will have some lapses, especially defensively, in his first full year.
That’s where Boychuk comes into the picture. He has to do something, that he’s honestly never done before, which is stay healthy and play a full season. The closest he’s come to that is in 2011-2011 he played 77 games.
Boychuk is going to turn 34 in January, it won’t be easy for him to play a full year as he continues to get up there in age. Regardless, the Isles still need him on the ice every night.
He’s the veteran leader of the group now. Everybody else is young in their 20’s (except for Dennis Seidenberg of course). They need him to bring that physical presence that he once had, they should wise up and give him power play opportunities, and the Islanders certainly can’t afford to have his point production keep going down.
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It’s asking a lot of him at this point in his career, but that’s the boat the Islanders are in right now. Keep in mind he’s got another five seasons with the team (including 2017-2018). They can’t afford, literally, to have his production and health decline now.