In summer 2012 the New York Islanders signed Brad Boyes as part of a marriage of convenience for both sides:
The Isles got another rent-a-winger able to play in their top-six and be a right-shooting playmaker on the powerplay, filling the role vacated by P.A. Parenteau who excelled in consecutive similar "prove it" contracts. Boyes got a chance to rebuild his value after his effectiveness descended in St. Louis and did not rebound in Buffalo.
In the end, that contract eventually paid off with Boyes filling that role on the powerplay and ultimately lining up next to John Tavares and Matt Moulson at even strength. The Islanders got what they bargained for.
And Boyes? Well he certainly didn't hurt his value in 2013. But how well the marriage paid off will only be determined by what kind of contract he gets now, with free agency beckoning and no deal imminent from the Isles.
The question of whether Boyes could produce in a featured role was answered quickly. He did.
However, the question that determines his next contract is whether he produced enough in that role, or whether he was helped by outstanding seasons from John Tavares (who scored at his highest rate yet) and Matt Moulson (who assisted at his highest rate yet).
That issue, as well as the seasons that led Boyes to be available for just $1 million last summer, will probably haunt contract negotiations. But Boyes did have time on the Isles second line before Kyle Okposo lost the spot next to Tavares and Moulson after the season's opening stretch. Overall, his possession numbers were good there, or at least good enough to conclude he was not exactly carried by his other linemates.
A look at some of his numbers:
|EV TOI/Gm||Rank||OZ %||Rank|
|Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|PP TOI/Gm||TOI Rank||Pts.||PK TOI/Gm||Rank|
|Penalty Plus/Minus||Is it Luck?
|Taken||Drawn||On-Ice Sht%||On-Ice Sv%||PDO|
Data above taken from NHL.com and Behind The Net. Linked categories will take you to relevant pages where you can find the rest of the data in context.
Boyes' playoff was fine too, though his three assists in six games did not scream "difference maker," which is what the Islanders probably hope to have in that spot -- whether from outside or from within.
So here we are with free agency upon us, the Islanders with ample cap space and likely aiming higher, or else hoping to see a promising promotion from a prospect like Ryan Strome or Brock Nelson. With the addition of Cal Clutterbuck filling another spot in the bottom six, it's unlikely they would re-sign Boyes to play a diminished role like he did in Buffalo.
But for our annual report card exercise we ask two questions of our readers about this pending free agent: How well did he meet your expectations in 2013, and under what (if any) conditions would you bring him back?