Bargain Signing: Brad Boyes Joins the New York Islanders

Jonathan Willis
July 01 2012 03:40PM

The New York Islanders picked up what might prove to be one of the best assets, per dollar, on the free agent market when they signed Brad Boyes to a one-year deal worth $1.0 million.

It really wasn’t all that long ago that Brad Boyes was one of the most prolific goal-scorers in the NHL. Between 2007-09 he scored 76 goals for the St. Louis Blues. However, that was largely based on very strong shooting percentage numbers – a 15.0% clip in 2008-09, when he scored 33 goals, and a 20.8% conversion rate in his 43-goal 2007-08. In the three seasons since, Boyes’ shooting percentage hasn’t cracked double-digits. Even so, he’s general been a pretty good offensive player, managing 42 points in 2009-10 and 55 in 2010-11.

This year, however, he put up easily the worst totals of his career. Some of that was due to injury – after entering the year with a 493-game iron man streak, missed a long chunk of time early in the year with a knee injury. He had already been struggling, and ended the year with just 23 points in 65 games.

Can he rebound? It seems plausible. Boyes has long been a power play triggerman, and this year in Buffalo he was a second-unit option. He told CBC before signing in Long Island that finding a team where he could get power play ice-time was important to him:

In a perfect world, it would be a team that has room for me in the top six [forwards] or if it has depth in the top nine, a time where I'm put in power-play situations and a team that's going to win.

He went on to highlight the importance of playing for a winning club, though the Islanders aren’t exactly the first team that comes to mind when hearing that description.

Even if he doesn’t pick up a lot more points on the power play, however, his even-strength scoring should rebound in a big way. Last year in Buffalo, it was well below his career norms:

Season Team 5-on-5 PTS/60
2007-08 St. Louis 2.35
2008-09 St. Louis 1.77
2009-10 St. Louis 1.68
2010-11 STL/BUF 2.05
2011-12 Buffalo 1.27

Even if Boyes only returns to previous lows, he’s looking at an extra 30% or more even-strength offensive production.

If everything goes wrong and Boyes turns out to be a depth scorer with minimal punch, the Islanders will still only be paying market value. If everything goes right, the Isles could have a 50-60 point guy on their hands for the same money that most players spend on fourth-liners.

This was an excellent signing.

This week by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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