Johnny Boychuk's career was over sooner than the Edmonton, Canada native anticipated. After sustaining an eye injury in March of 2020 against the Montreal Canadiens, Boychuk returned to bubble hockey play where he played in his final three games against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final. After one last push in the playoffs, the then 36-year-old knew his playing career would, unfortunately, come to an end.
"The injury's causing me to stop playing, so don't know if it's retiring or [long-term injured reserve]. I just know it's going to cause me to not play because it's basically not safe for me if I can't see things coming. For the future, I have no idea what to do. This has been two months of going to doctors, and I'm trying to think about what I can do after, but I'm not too sure yet. I want to be on [Long] Island, obviously. We built a house there. There were no plans on leaving. But I just don't know."- Johnny Boychuk
Boychuk stuck around on Long Island since sustaining the injury. He was placed on long-term injured reserve for the final year of his contract with the Islanders but was seen hanging around management and with the team. This week, the Islanders are underway with NHL rookie camp, and Boychuk, as well as former Islander Dennis Seidenberg, have been seen on the ice leading drills. It was revealed on Sunday afternoon that Boychuk has been hired in a development role by the NY Islanders.
Boychuk is an 11-plus-year veteran in the NHL. He was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the second round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, 61st overall. It took Boychuk five seasons to reach the NHL until he made his debut with the Avalanche playing in four games. He was traded that summer to the Boston Bruins where he would spend the next six years of his career.
Boychuk developed into a top-four defenseman playing for the Bruins. He and the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011. Three seasons later, Boychuk was traded to the Islanders in exchange for two second-round draft picks and a third-round draft pick. Boychuk played 725 games in his NHL career, scoring 54 goals and 152 assists. Boychuk's best season came in his first year with the Islanders during the 2014-15 season scoring nine goals and 35 points in 72 games.
Boychuk will now work as a player developer. The Islanders have traditionally developed defenseman well with Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech, Noah Dobson, and Scott Mayfield all developing in the Islanders system. Notable defenseman Boychuk will work with moving forward include current Islanders defenseman, and prospects Calle Odelius, Isaiah George, and Samuel Bolduc.