New York Islanders Don’t Need To Sign Brian Boyle
By Matt O'Leary
Many are linking the New Yor Islanders to depth center Brian Boyle. While Boyle is a fine player it doesn’t make sense for the Islanders.
After losing Valtteri Filppula in free agency, the New York Islanders are down a center. Many are pointing to Brian Boyle to help out in that role. Boyle, now 34 years old, is one of the more inspirational stories in the NHL.
In 2017, he was diagnosed with leukemia and had to miss some time. He ended up playing 69 games and was fairly productive for New Jersey. Now, he’s a free agent, waiting for someone to scoop him up after a 24 point (18 goals, 6 assists) season with New Jersey and Nashville.
While Boyle is a fine fourth liner, I really don’t think the Islanders need to sign him. As it stands right now, the Isles already have Cal Clutterbuck, Leo Komarov, and Casey Cizikas who are bottom-six players locked up with term at over $3 million AAV.
As it stands right now, the Isles have just $8.7 million in cap space and a need in the top-six still. Yes, they can trade away Nick Leddy for someone like Tomas Tatar or Jason Zucker but spending the remaining cap on a bottom-six player doesn’t make sense.
You need to keep some cap space available because you still have RFA’s like Anthony Beauvillier, Michael Dal Colle, and Josh Ho-Sang to sign. Plus next year you’ll be forking money over to Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, and Devon Toews.
Have one of Tom Kuhnhackl, Tanner Fritz, or Leo Komarov fill in the hole left by Val Filppula. With Cizikas’ performance in 2018-2019, you can likely bump him up to a third-line role. Pairing him with a Michael Dal Colle and Anthony Beauvillier should work in terms of forming a defensive-minded third line with some scoring upside, which is the goal.
On line four, you can have Leo Komarov center the line and then reduce Matt Martin’s and Cal Clutterbuck’s ice time to even things out a bit more and make it a more conventional fourth line.
Lou Lamoriello traded for Brian Boyle just a couple of years ago, doubling down and signing him to a contract with an AAV of $3 million or more at age 34 would be a mistake though.