With the trade deadline looming, the Columbus Blue Jackets do not figure to be major players. The team is several years ahead of schedule right now as they continue to sit 4th in the NHL league standings despite being the youngest team in the league. The future is exceptionally bright for this team.
Still, can the team find a way to improve for this season’s playoff run without costing the team any of the pieces who will be here when the team figures to take its next step forward?
One such option is Brian Boyle.
Boyle is currently playing center for the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team that has disappointed this season given recent performances. Part of that is because of the loss of Steven Stamkos to injury, but the Lightning currently sit out of the playoff picture.
But to Brian Boyle. Boyle is 32 years old, and in the final season of a 3 year, $6 million contract. The pending unrestricted free agent from Massachusetts has put up 13 goals and 9 assists in 54 games played this season. He also wins 53% of his faceoffs this season, a spot where the Blue Jackets are sorely lacking.
Boyle, listed at 6’6” and 244 pounds, could add some much needed physicality for the grind of the playoffs. He can play in all phases of the game, and is willing to do the dirty work along the boards that so often decides playoff games. A strong forecheck is imperative to win in the playoffs, and Boyle could provide a boost to put the Blue Jackets over the edge.
Having been a part of the Bolts’ two runs to the conference finals and to the Stanley Cup Finals could also provide the Blue Jackets with something they sorely lack - playoff experience. Only Brandon Saad and Scott Hartnell truly boast an impressive postseason resume, so having another veteran hand on deck could prove to be valuable.
The question then becomes “What will Boyle cost the Blue Jackets?” He would be only a rental player, as his contract expires at the end of the season. If the cost is anything more than a mid-round pick, I believe the Jackets should pass on trading for Boyle. I just don’t see a fit in the current lineup as constructed.
What do you think? Could Boyle be an option for the Blue Jackets?