The New York Rangers 2010-11 season featured a number of players who had career years. Brian Boyle was certainly one of those as his 21 goal, 14 assist season shattered not only any individual season he had before, but his career totals. This summer Boyle was rewarded for this performance with a three-year, $5.1 million deal. The length of the deal was somewhat surprising because of the vast disparity between the Boyle of last season with the rest of his career.
Along with the differential between last season and the rest of his career was the disparity between his first half and second half performance. During the first half Boyle had 18 goals and 9 assists in 52 games while hitting the wall and only recording 3 goals and 5 assists in the final 30 games. That decline made expectations for Boyle’s contract to be one of a short length to make him “prove” that there was no fluke in his early season performance. The Boyle contract was the only one that received anything other than rave reviews for GM Glen Sather amongst the numerous important contracts the organization had this summer.
If the first few days of training camp are any indication of the version of Brian Boyle that the New York Rangers are going to get for this contract, then Glen Sather is going to be made to look like a genius. In the first two days of scrimmages Boyle has been a dominant force and his offensive form of the first half of last season has been on display with three goals. Offense is not the most critical component of Boyle will bring to the Rangers, but to justify his contract there will need to be a decent amount of contributions from him. Having a player like Boyle who can provide upwards of 20 goals from a third or fourth line spot along with the tremendous defensive work he will bring the team is a huge advantage for the Rangers.
The most encouraging thing about the early camp reports is that it shows the hard work that Boyle put in last summer in order to allow him to have his breakout season was put in once again instead of resting on what was accomplished. Though that should not be all that surprising because just about all reports concerning this team are of that variety in that they understand the goals of the team and each individual is willing to do whatever it takes to get the team to that destination.