dan brian boyle

Rangers Address Defense With Signings of Dan Boyle, Mike Kostka

The New York Rangers have seemingly replaced Anton Stralman with the signing of Dan Boyle, as first reported by the New York Post’s Larry Brooks.

 

 

Boyle, who turns 38 on July 12th, was previously with the San Jose Sharks. He also received a No-Movement Clause, as per Elliotte Friedman.

 

It’s been a bit of an uncertain period for the Rangers, as Anton Stralman’s departure left a big hole in the lineup with few options available on the FA market to fill it. Dan Boyle was one of those few available players, however.

The obvious downside to Boyle is his age. Clearly, he’s not the same player he once was, and that second year plus the NMC could be problematic if he shows he doesn’t have enough left in the tank by the end of the 2014-2015 season. Even if he were to retire, the Rangers would still have his cap hit on the books, as his is a 35+ contract.

Still, there are no risk-free contracts in the NHL; especially when it comes to free agency. All things considered, it’s a very reasonable deal for Boyle. Especially when looking at this year’s FA crop and what kinds of other ridiculous deals are being thrown around. With the Rangers in win-now mode, this was a no-brainer move on Sather’s part. Even in his advanced age, Boyle brings plenty to the table. The Rangers were one of the worst teams last season in terms of getting offense from their defensemen, and Boyle scored 12 goals and added 24 assists in 75 games last season. His 53% Corsi Percentage is also tremendous; especially when considering that his quality of teammates was significantly lower than the competition he was facing. Boyle’s most frequent defensive partner was Matt Irwin, who is a solid but unspectacular player. Certainly, Boyle was the driving force on that pairing. With the Rangers, he’ll slot next to Marc Staal, which will be a significant upgrade for Boyle. If all else is equal, Boyle’s production should actually IMPROVE next to Staal.

Boyle is perhaps a slight downgrade at even strength. However, he, in theory at least, more than makes up for it with his power play prowess. The biggest problem for the Rangers last season was the complete absence of any presence whatsoever on the point. This allowed teams to really pressure the Rangers down low. Boyle had six PP goals and twelve PP assists last season. His G/60 (goals-per-60-minutes) on the PP was a solid 1.32, which is a healthy raise from Brad Richards 1.00 G/60. His Points/60 was also higher than Richards’. Boyle is no PK Subban or Drew Doughty, but he’s certainly an upgrade on the PP, and if the Rangers continue to play well at even strength and on the penalty kill, then even a mediocre PP is good enough.

Of lesser note was the Rangers’ signing of journeyman defenseman Michael Kostka to a one-year, $650K deal. Kostka, 28, has bounced around from the Maple Leafs, Blackhawks, and Lightning the last few years. In 63 games over the last two seasons, he was a positive Corsi Rel (how high his Corsi is compared to his teammates) despite his competition being slightly better than his teammates. He also has four goals and 19 points in 65 career NHL games, so he has a bit of offense in him as well. Ultimately, it’s a low-risk move for the Rangers. If he performs well in training camp and earns a spot as the 7th- or 8th-defenseman then great. If not, then he’s a really good defenseman to have in Hartford.

 

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