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

Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including the Edmonton Journal, Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.