The New York Islanders announced that Johnny Boychuk will be out for 3-4 weeks with a lower-body injury today. He’s a huge presence on the Islanders blue line that will be missed.
New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk left game four against the Pittsburgh Penguins and didn’t return. On Friday, as the Islanders returned to the ice for practice, and we found out that Boychuk would be out for 3-4 weeks with a lower-body injury.
The 35-year-old blueliner, acquired via trade from the Boston Bruins on a wild day back in 2014, has been a mainstay for the Islanders defense. He’s a big physical presence that can clear the net of danger, protect the Islanders blue line, and has a wicked slap shot.
Not having him in the lineup is going to be a huge hole for the Islanders to try and fill.
All the Small Things
Speaking to the media, Islanders goalie Robin Lehner told everyone just why he’ll miss having Johnny Boychuk in the lineup.
Paired up with Nick Leddy the two have balanced each other out well since they were acquired by the Islanders on the same day in two separate trades. Leddy is allowed to venture forward to push the puck into the offensive zone and seek offensive opportunities, while Boychuk’s responsibilities are more defensive in nature.
That’s been their M.O. since they got here, including the playoffs this season. But with Boychuk out, the Islanders blueline is going to need some balancing. It likely means that Scott Mayfield will make the jump up to the top pair and Thomas Hickey will be called into action.
There’s no way to keep that left-right balance through all three pairings with Boychuk out. The Islanders just don’t have enough right-handers.
With the way Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock have been playing the Islanders won’t want to split them up. Mayfield has already seen playing time with Nick Leddy this season and looked comfortable doing so. In terms of players with similar skill sets, Mayfield is the closest the Islanders can get to another Boychuk.
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It’s not perfect, ideally, the Islanders wouldn’t want to lose Boychuk at all. He’s been a huge factor for them all season long and his inclusion balances out the rest of the Islanders defensive core. Thankfully the Washington-Carolina series is dragging on giving Boychuk more time to recover before the team hits the ice again.