So on Monday — when the New York Daily News asked if being a healthy scratch was difficult — it wasn’t surprising to hear Boyle reply “of course, yeah.”
This is Boyle’s reality for the foreseeable future.
Even though Boyle said he doesn’t know of a long-term plan about his playing time and that he’s focusing on each game as it comes, [head coach Alain] Vigneault reiterated that he had a conversation with Boyle about two weeks ago regarding sitting Boyle some games, recognizing he’s older and not the player he once was. Vigneault also revealed general manager Jeff Gorton had the same conversation with Boyle’s agent.
“So he’s aware of it,” said Vigneault, who says he’ll do what’s best for the club. “I didn’t expect him to be happy about it and cheery about it, but human nature is that at 39, he’ll probably need a bit more rest and we need to be smart with him, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
The Rangers have done a decent job of playing this off as a two-part decision: One part resting Boyle, one part getting Dylan McIlrath in the lineup.
But the reality is that every time Boyle’s a healthy scratch, it’s $4.5 million sitting in the press box.
And that money isn’t going anywhere.
Because Boyle’s a 35-plus contract, the only way the Rangers get financial relief is via trade — there’s no cap savings by putting him in the AHL, or nudging him towards retirement.
But barring some pure magic by GM Jeff Gorton, a trade isn’t happening.
Which means that not only is Boyle not going anywhere — the storyline isn’t, either.
For now, it’s not a huge issue. But it certainly could be. The Rangers are pressed right up against the cap ceiling and, for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations, that’s not a good position to be in — especially come trade deadline time.