New York Islanders Acquire Johnny Boychuk From The Boston Bruins


Once again, Garth Snow and the New York Islanders got aggressive on the trade front in order to try and bolster their roster. Snow got aggressive before free agency, trading for Jaroslav Halak from the Washington Capitals and Dan Boyle from the San Jose Sharks before free agency started on July 1st, even though both players were slated to become unrestricted free agents. Snow succeeded in locking up Halak to a four year, $18 million contract before free agency began, but Boyle left to sign a two year, $9 million deal with the New York Rangers.

This time, Snow made an aggressive move for a blue liner, just six days before the team opens its season against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Islanders acquired Johnny Boychuk from the Boston Bruins for a 2015 2nd round pick, 2016 2nd round pick, and a conditional 2015 3rd round pick. That 3rd round pick will go to the Boston Bruins if the Islanders deal Boychuk to an Eastern Conference team during the 2014-2015 season.

More from Ducks News

The Islanders are a team that is perceived to have loads of young talent, starting with franchise centerman John Tavares. They also have talented forwards, such as Kyle Okposo, Ryan Strome, Josh Bailey, and Brock Nelson. However, the two areas that have held the team back consistently the past few years have been defensive play and goaltending. Garth Snow got aggressive,  trading for Halak in an effort to improve the Islanders on the back end, where they ranked 28th in terms of goals against per game in 2013-2014.

Now, the team has added a veteran, physical presence on the back end in Boychuk. A steady force of the rugged, physical Bruins’ blue-line, Boychuk has averaged over 20 minutes of ice time per game the past four seasons, and those numbers increased in the postseason. He’s a bigger body (6’2, 225 lbs) who loves to dish out punishment and shoot the puck. He scored five goals and 23 points last season, while racking up 45 penalty minutes with a +31 rating. Give the Islanders credit for picking out their weaknesses and being aggressive in trying to remedy them.

As for the Bruins, this move gets them closer to their goal of getting under the salary cap. Jarome Iginla left Boston to sign with the Colorado Avalanche, but his contract bonuses from last season rolled over onto this year’s cap. Because of that, the Bruins took a while to sign youngsters Reilly Smith and Torey Krug, both of whom agreed to separate one year, $1.4 million deals. By dealing Boychuk for only draft picks, the Bruins are closer to getting under the cap (according to CapGeek, they are $867,476 over the figure of $69 million right now). Losing Boychuk isn’t ideal, since giving up a good player is never an ideal situation, but the Bruins should also get Dennis Seidenberg back after he suffered a torn ACL and MCL last season.

The conditional draft pick makes things interesting. Boychuk is an unrestricted free agent after this season, so the Islanders are already trading away two 2nd round picks for what could essentially be a six month rental. Because of the Thomas Vanek deal last year, the Islanders also do not own a 1st round pick in this year’s draft either. Because of that, the team has pressure on it to make the playoffs, so that the loss of those picks does not sting as much. However, if the Islanders find themselves out of the playoff hunt by the trade deadline, then they may look to turn Boychuk into an asset. However, if they deal Boychuk to an Eastern Conference team, then the Islanders will lose another 2015 draft pick.

The stakes have been raised for the Islanders. But they are a better team with Boychuk than without him. Could they sneak into the postseason? They seem to have the talent to do so.

Jason Byun is one of the editors for Pucks of a Feather. He can be found on Twitter. For more Anaheim Ducks coverage, follow Pucks of a Feather on Twitter or like us on Facebook.