After the disappointing end to 2014, including a Stanley Cup Final elimination and the department of Anton Stralman in the offseason, Dan Boyle seemed like a great acquisition to bolster the Rangers' blue line; especially on the power play.
Of course Boyle would not be the same player he was in Tampa Bay or San Jose and of course his age could have been an indicator for a dip in his play, but his offensive stats were more than appealing for a team that no longer had Michael Del Zotto quarterbacking the man advantage.
So we all know the story from here. Boyle never brought the same offensive presence when he joined the Rangers, leading to the need of the Keith Yandle trade. While 2015 wasn't the perfect year for Boyle, 2016 was where we saw his defensive play become more and more of a liability, or so we think...
I'm not going to sit here and say that Boyle was one of the Rangers best defenseman this year, as time after time it was obvious that some of the goals scored against with him on the ice showed his inability to stay up to speed. With the end of the season and the playoffs still fresh in mind, it is hard to recall many plays in which Boyle was the reason the Rangers were scored on though.
In fact, this was the only play in which you could make a case for Boyle being at fault in all five of the Rangers playoff games.
I'm not one to say stats are totally indicative of one's play, but during this series, that argument can easily be made for two other Rangers' defenseman instead of Boyle.
We can go on and on about defensive breakdowns that were at the hands of Boyle, but let's talk about the reason he was brought to New York. Offense remember? So he didn't turn the power play into a powerhouse for the Rangers, but then again, he's not Ovechkin or Stamkos, he's 39-year-old Dan Boyle. That being said, he still showed plenty of offensive ability at his age, scoring 10 goals this season. Most notably, joining the rush and putting home this beaut...
And this is one of the things I always appreciated from Boyle. When the Rangers were down in games and risks needed to be taken to create offense, it was always apparent that he was trying to make a difference, something maybe the team captain could really learn from moving forward.
Final Grade: It might be obvious that I have a soft spot for Boyle, as the expectations (Did I mention he's 39?) were unrealistic from the start, but that is not a justification to give him a good grade. On the defensive side, it was hard to watch Boyle consistently get blown past for a scoring chance that could have been easily avoided. While it was nice to see at least some offensive urge from a player like Boyle, especially when the team was behind in games, that urge was never truly enough to make a difference. He might not have been physically up to par for the Rangers, but his offensive awareness can be seen as a teaching point for some of the younger players moving forward.
Final Grade: C-