One of the complaints from Rangers fans after the signing of 37-year old (will be 38 on July 12th) Dan Boyle was how he fit the mold of a typical over-the-hill, fading superstar signing Glen Sather has become notorious for during his tenure as Rangers GM.
And those complaints seem justified when looking at Boyle’s point total which has decreased every season since 2009-10, bottoming out last year with just 36 (12g, 24a) which was his lowest since 2001-02 (minimum 60 games).
Yesterday, Boyle attempted to alleviate some of those concerns by assuring Rangers fans that age will not be a factor (via Bergen Record)…
“Last season was unique,” Boyle said. “I had the concussion, six or seven games in. I had a rough, call it three months, where I wasn’t myself. A lot of people were saying age was a factor. I don’t buy that for a second. I keep myself in really good shape. Anybody who watched the games down the stretch could see I was back to myself.
“I led the team in ice time,” he added. “That’s why I keep myself in shape, to be able to go through that. I’m not looking to be a guy who goes out playing in and out, playing a few minutes. I’m looking to make a difference, a player who wants the puck, who wants to make plays. That’s what I’m hoping for and, obviously, helping the younger guys goes with the territory. I’m there to win hockey games, that’s the ultimate goal.”
Here’s video of Boyle’ scary concussion from last season…
Boyle had nine points (4g, 5a) in the final 10 games of the regular season, however, he went pointless during the final three games of the Sharks choke job against the Kings in the first round of the playoffs last postseason.
…great, a concussion-prone 38-year old defenseman. What can go wrong? I kid (maybe).
…the biggest difference between the Boyle signing and some of the other mistakes Sather has made over the years is that this is just a two-year contract, so the Rangers aren’t locked in long term plus it’ll be easier to unload (if Boyle waives NTC) if necessary.
…Boyle will also likely benefit from reduced ice time. As he mentioned above, Boyle lead the Sharks in ice time last season (21:06 per game), but now that he’ll be a part of a defensive corps which includes minute eaters such as McDonagh, Girardi and Staal that number is likely to be reduced allowing him to be a fresher player throughout the season. What’s also encouraging is that Boyle actually raised his level of play down the stretch last season which means he still has a lot left in the tank.
…another sign Boyle is far from being done were his possession stats last season as, despite his down year point-wise, he still finished with a respectable Corsi of 53% (% of team shot attempts for vs. against while on the ice). His Corsi was also 6.8% higher than the Sharks average in the playoffs which means while everyone else’s game was falling apart against the Kings his remained strong.
…and obviously there’s Boyle’s power play production. Last season he scored his most extra man goals (6) since 2009-10 and his 18 total power play points would have been tied for second most on the Rangers. He will be a serious upgrade over Brad Richards.
Rangers fans should also love the fact that he turned down bigger offers to come to New York…
“That’s where I wanted to go, that’s the simplest way I can put it. Once I found I was done in San Jose, that was a team I was always curious about. I played in Florida and California, two non-traditional hockey markets. I just wanted to experience something different, an Original Six team. I can make more money elsewhere but, at the end of the day, you’ve got to be happy. That’s why I chose to go there.”
…can’t think of a better way to initially get a new fan base on your side than taking less money to play for their team, but that good will has the potential to be short lived if he can’t produce once the puck drops.