The Importance of Dan Boyle

Dan Boyle is now in his 16th NHL season, and his first with the New York Rangers in his two-year, $9 million contract. The Rangers are his fourth NHL team, and after six years in a row of being a star defenseman on San Jose, Boyle is trying to do the same with New York and hopefully win a cup before his playing days expire.

The Rangers were in need of a key defenseman and with Boyle a free agent, New York set their sights on him. They had also showed interest in Boyle at the trade deadline last year. Boyle currently has thirteen points this season, including two goals in his last three games. He has played in thirty eight games. This is not even half of the points Boyle put up last year, a total of thirty six.

Although the downfall of points is certainly a negative, on the plus side Boyle has been playing well defensively. He finished last year with a suffering -8 for plus/minus, and this year he has shown much improvement with a +12. Playing well defensively obviously should be the main objective of a defenseman, but offense is not totally out of the picture when rating defensemen.

Boyle was scratched for New York’s 5-1 win over Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday due to an illness, and was a game-time decision for last night’s game against the New York Islanders. It was decided that he would be playing in the game, and it resulted in a thrilling 6-5 win. Boyle has been playing very well recently, along with two goals in his last four games, as he has managed to achieve a +5 rating.

The Rangers will want Boyle back and healthy so he can play as the third right handed defenseman. With lefties Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal, and Matt Hunwick, and righties Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein, Boyle fits right in as the third righty to play with lefty Hunwick (or John Moore when inserted).

Boyle has also been playing on the second line of the power play, for which it would be good to have him back. New York made the right decision in signing Boyle to the team for two-years, and hopefully he will continue to contribute and assist the team in their run for the cup.

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