Player evaluation: Boyle

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BRIAN BOYLE

This season: 8 games, 4 goals, 1 assist, plus-4 rating.

Positives: It’s hard to argue with the raw numbers. Four goals in eight games is nothing to sneeze at, and Boyle showed, at least in a limited tryout, that he has the skill to play at the NHL level. His size should make him a valuable asset going forward, particularly at the center position.

Negatives: His demotion back to Manchester came as something of a surprise, and came with a vague, somewhat mysterious explanation about him needing to develop better habits and learn how to play on a winning team. After his eight-game stint in February, Boyle never returned to the Kings.

Looking ahead: Sometimes it’s hard to figure what the Kings are doing with Boyle. They make him a defenseman, then they switch him back to center. They bring him up from Manchester, then they send him back after he scores four goals in eight games. Fortunately, Boyle seems to be a bright guy with a good attitude. He needs to use his size and be a more physical presence, but it’s very easy to see him having a future with the Kings, as soon as next season.

Contract situation: Signed through 2008-09 (cap number of $835,000 next season).

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  • Andy Glas

    If he would have reached 11 games wouldn’t he have incurred his first NHL season, therefore, be closer to being an RFA. Not sure how this exactly works.

  • lblocal

    After he finishes in Manchester, Boyle should NEVER have to play in a minor league hockey game, ever again. This kid will be a powerhouse..

  • CHUCK

    Great 8 game stint for Boyle. I expect him to challenge Handzus for the 2nd/3rd line center spot next year. The only reason I see for sending him back to Manchester, was to preserve his rookie status. I think that 8 games is the max, to still be considered a rookie for the next season.

  • Anonymous

    I think he starts next season centering the fourth line with Ellis and Ivanans. If he has a really good camp he might center the 3rd line with Purcell.

    We’ll see what happens with Handzus in terms of what kind of start he gets off to. The better Handzus plays the more likely that Boyle stays on the 4th line or returns to Manchester.

    I think DL recognizes that Boyle only can play in so many games before needing to clear waivers and saw no need to waste games on him this season – better to help Manchester make the playoffs.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think Boyle’s being sent back was surprising at all. Ditto for Moulson and Purcell.

    If you look at their NHL production, over an 82 game schedule their stats would be:
    Boyle 41G, 51P, 41+/-
    Among NHL rookies he would be first in goals, first in Points and fifth in points.
    Moulson 19G, 34P, 8+/-
    4th in goals, 9th in points and 11th +/- among NHL rookies
    Purcell 8G, 25P, 16+/-
    20th, 19th, and 2nd
    All three would be top 5 goal and point scorers in the AHL. All three showed they can play in the NHL. All three were winners in College. All three have gotten better every year.

    This season do you leave them on a team where you already have 5 young players up front earning their NHL experience (Brown, Cammy, Kopitar, O’Sullivan, Frolov) on a team that won’t make the playoffs, or do you send them to Manchester who was 5 points out of a playoff spot, who has a large group of first year pros and young players who would benefit greatly from a playoff run. They missed a few NHL games but gained a lot of confidence in the playoff drive.

    The question isn’t “why was Boyle sent down” but what “happens next year?”. As far as I can see, all three rookies have answered the bell at both the NHL and AHL level this year. They’ve shown they are winners – again. Dean’s job, as he has been saying, is to now take the assets and start shaping the franchise to win consistently in the future. Will be interesting.

  • sense13

    Although, his demotion initially came as a surprise, after thinking about it, I realized the reasoning behind it. Although, we were clearly a better team with Boyle in the lineup, we were so far back in the standings, even with Boyle, we would have either barely made the playoffs but more than likely just missed out on it and the lottery. I believe DL chose the conservative route and probably the correct one. I fully expect Boyle to be our 2nd line center next year with Handzus and Army playing 3rd and 4th line centers respectively.

  • Moondoggie

    Gosh I like this kid. Big, physical, good shot, good positioning, good hockey sense. He had a great run and like some, I believe he was sent back to bolster Manchester’s chance rather than expend him on a lost Kings season. The playoff experience won’t hurt Boyle at all, nor Purcell and Moulson. Not a bad 2nd or at worst 3rd line for LA next year. I see lots of goals and good things for Brian and the Kings.

  • nykingfan

    I was initially upset with seeing Boyle being sent back to Manchester. It was purely selfish reasons. I would rather have seen him in the lineup then Willsie or Thornton.
    Since we weren’t going anywhere, it was better that he learn the game on the AHL level and get playoff experience. Unfortunately, the injury cost him the playoff experience.
    I would expect next year he would make the Kings roster and really should be 4th line center. Why put the pressure on the kid to be the 2nd line center as a rookie? That’s not fair to him and probably counter-productive to his development.

  • DellaNooch

    This guy will be our second line center by the end of next season (provided his AHL injury isn’t too bad). He proved that he is ready for the NHL, though I agree with having him finish in the AHL this season (one more playoff run)…he’ll give Stamkos a run for the Calder Trophy next season.

  • Seitz

    Sometimes it’s hard to figure what the Kings are doing with Boyle

    What’s so hard to figure out? The organization is thin on defense, so they tried him out there, and it didn’t work. They called him up to get a taste of the NHL with every intention of sending him back down, and that’s exactly what they did. From where I sit, it’s pretty easy to figure out what they’re doing with Boyle.

  • Anonymous

    Here are some line combinations for next season, possibly with some mixed in chemistery.
    1st line
    Brown, Kopitar, Purcell
    2nd
    Frolov, Boyle, Camalari
    3rd
    Ellis, Handzus, Moulsen
    4th
    Ivanans, Armstrong, ?

  • Dan H.

    You forgot a little guy named Patty O’Sullivan who should be on the first line an dleft there all year.

    Cammy probably has less than 50% chance of being here unless he gets inked in the next two months to a long term extension.

  • Stix

    Rich,

    I remember reading that the King’s coaching staff was pissed off at one young player who talked back to a coach after being on the big club for only a short time. The article said that the player was sent back to the minors after that incident.

    Do you have any idea who that player was? Given Boyle’s “surprise” demotion, could he have been that player?

    Thanks.

  • Damen

    I think it’s pretty obvious what the Kings are doing with Boyle, turning him into the next Joel Otto. Dean said even if the move to defenceman didn’t work the silver lining was it would help his defensive play down low as a center. Sure he put up good numbers in those 8 games, but if all the Kings wanted out of him was tap-ins & a physical presence he would’ve never had played a game in Manchester. They know he can score, that’s not the hold up. They want a dynamic two way center who can match up nightly vs Thornton, Getzlaf & Mueller. No matter how much size & skill Brian brings there’s a lot to learn to get that level and he’s learning it in Manchester

  • Mark

    If you take away his raw stats and just look at what he was able to do without the puck alone would amaze people. Who was the other player that he just walked all over on center ice?

  • Holly

    Boyle’s return to Manchester may be surprising in raw numbers, but it isn’t when you think of what they’re trying to do with these kids.

    Manchester was fighting for a playoff spot towards the end of the season, and one of the best ways to increase someone’s desire to win is have them on a winning team. They know what it feels like, and hopefully that will increase their desire and drive to continue doing so instead of getting knocked down by defeat after defeat.

    He very obviously stepped up his physical game during his time with the Kings (like his hit on Phaneuf) and it has continued to improve since being in Manchester.

    Re Stix on the mouthy player, it wasn’t Boyle. Based solely on his personality I’d be confident in that. And based on what I’ve been told by some of my acquaintances with Manchester, it wasn’t Boyle.

  • Holly

    Boyle’s return to Manchester may be surprising in raw numbers, but it isn’t when you think of what they’re trying to do with these kids.

    Manchester was fighting for a playoff spot towards the end of the season, and one of the best ways to increase someone’s desire to win is have them on a winning team. They know what it feels like, and hopefully that will increase their desire and drive to continue doing so instead of getting knocked down by defeat after defeat.

    He very obviously stepped up his physical game during his time with the Kings (like his hit on Phaneuf) and it has continued to improve since being in Manchester.

    Re Stix on the mouthy player, it wasn’t Boyle. Based solely on his personality I’d be confident in that. And based on what I’ve been told by some of my acquaintances with Manchester, it wasn’t Boyle.

  • dondon81

    Stix,

    I don’t think it was Boyle who was the culprit. Everything I’ve ever read about him has been positive and he looks to have a good head on his shoulders. I don’t think I’ve read anything negative from him all through that whole time.

    Maybe the guy you’re referring to is Gauthier? He got sent down real quick after being called up.

  • notapalindrome

    mark -

    Phaneuf tried to bowl over Boyle at center ice and ended up sprawled out.

    I THINK that is the incident you are referring to.

  • Jordan

    Should say “mysterious explanation about _his_ needing to develop better habits…”

    Possessive before a gerund.

  • triplcrown

    The team shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with Boyle a bit
    (but not on D!). In addition
    to being tried at 2nd/3rd/4th-line C roles,
    Boyle should be given a stint
    on LW with Kopitar/DB.

    He might possibly function
    as a kind of “Charlie Simmer-type”(?), turning
    that line into an
    unstoppable force!

    Well, it’s worth a try,
    I reckon.

    Methinks the guy’s scoring touch is a match for anyone in the organization.

    Next year (assuming the knee’s AOK), watching
    Brian Boyle is going
    to be fun.

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