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If there’s one thing the New York Islanders do exceeding well, it’s polishing diamonds in the rough. Brad Boyes can be considered one such example after his disappointing campaign with the Buffalo Sabres last season.
He inked a one-year, $1 million deal with the Islanders and was given a chance to play on the top line with John Tavares and Matt Moulson. Boyes has rewarded them with eight goals and 27 points in 32 games this season.
Some might argue that it’s playing on such an enviable line that has sparked 30-year-old forward’s comeback, but by the same logic, his struggles last season could be blamed on the fact the Sabres gave him just 13:10 minutes of ice time per game. Either way, Boyes has put up star-caliber numbers in the past, so if the Islanders start shopping him, they’re likely to find plenty of interested parties.
One such team might be the Boston Bruins, ESPN speculated. Boyes previously spent two seasons with the Bruins and has experience playing on a line with Patrice Bergeron.
Bruins is reportedly looking for a top-six forward and might bulk at the Calgary Flames’ asking price for Jarome Iginla.
At the same time, it looks like the Islanders’ first choice would be to keep Boyes. They’re still very much in the playoff race and are attempting to re-sign him, according to Newsday’s Arthur Staple.
Still, trading Boyes might be Plan B if the Islanders don’t feel good about their chances of re-signing him.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.