New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk’s career has come to an end according to a team release.
This could mean that Johnny Boychuk could be officially retiring but it likely means that the 36-year-old (he turns 37 in January) will unofficially retire which means he will sit on LTIR until his contract comes to an end in two years.
According to the Islanders, Boychuk’s career comes to an end because of that eye injury he suffered in 19-20 after taking a skate to the face against the Montreal Canadiens.
Boychuk was brought to the Island in 2014 in a trade with the Boston Bruins for three draft picks on the same day that former GM Garth Snow brought in Nick Leddy from the Chicago Blackhawks. The two immediately gave the Islanders an NHL-worthy top pair defensive duo they’d needed for some time.
In six years, Johnny Boychuk played a hard-nosed game putting up 131 points in 404 games. In 2014-15, his first year on the Island, Boychuk put up a career year with nine goals and 35 points. More importantly, he and Leddy helped the Islanders get back to the playoffs after missing the previous year.
The seven-year $42 million deal he signed in 2015 ($6 million AAV)- which he thoroughly deserved – was always going to be an issue for the Isles in later years of the deal. Add the flat cap due to the pandemic and Boychuk’s deal was an even bigger issue for the Isles.
Getting some cap relief either through LTIR or by Boychuk retiring is going to give the team enough space to re-sign Barzal and maybe a few depth options as well.
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Johnny Boychuk left everything on the ice. He played every shift hard and was a fan favorite for it. It’s gonna be weird not seeing 55 out there launching rockets from the blue line. Good luck going forward Johnny, thanks for everything.