Brad Boyes -- RW -- #24
10-25-35 in 48 games
Most often seen: on John Tavares' right wing
Contract status: UFA this summer, $1M salary and cap hit in 2012-13
Obligatory YouTube video of: a slick wrister in transition against Ottawa back in March
Thoughts on 2012-13: Brad Boyes was brought in on a one-year 'show us what you got' contract last summer by the Islanders. For the cost -- only $1M -- and the term, it was a low-risk deal for the Islanders. When he was initially signed, we were seemingly reminded multiple times of how he was a former one-time forty goal scorer and although he didn't come anywhere near doing that, he played fairly well on the top line wing. He also served as a reminder that the Islanders still need a top line wing.
The other thing about Boyes is that he was essentially a replacement for PA Parenteau, who departed to Colorado for literal bags of money last summer. Parenteau outscored Boyes by 7 points in the shortened season, but given the difference in pay, the Islanders probably got the better of the deal (although somehow I know the debate will continue).
Boyes played well for the Islanders early on, scoring 8 goals in his first 30 games. Not amazing but not bad, either. But as the Islanders got hot in late March and April, Boyes was missing, notching only two goals in the final 18 games of the year although he did have a three-point night in Toronto in April and a couple assists here and there. His corsi relative checks out, fifth highest on the team last season, as he was helpful to the team at directing shots on net.
But Boyes is an interesting question mark as a free agent this season and it's hard, at least for me, to decide whether he should be back or not. There is a lot of youthful talent that should have a chance to make the team in September and a long-term deal with Boyes may not make sense. But he did contribute and produce a bit offensively, so he's not the kind of player you want to necessarily throw away either. He is not best served on the top line, especially if Kyle Okposo can continue to play like he deserves that spot. Boyes would be a good option for the second or third lines, but it really may depend on whether guys like Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson and Nino Niederreiter are ready for those spots. While the decision on youth can be made in the fall, the decision on Boyes will have to come in the next few weeks.