Johnny Boychuk was as bummed as the Bruins fans were in Massachusetts when he got dealt prior to the start of the 2014-2015 season, but it had to be done.
The Boston Bruins were pressed for cap space — they had so little that they were unable to re-sign their top two pending RFA’s, much less ink a contract to bring in a new top-six right wing — so they had to make a salary dump; they sent Boychuk to the New York Islanders for a slew of draft picks, freeing up just enough space for Dougie Hamilton and Reilly Smith.
New York has been a great fit for Boychuk, though.
The former Colorado Avalanche blue liner — dealt to the Bruins after only a season for Matt Hendricks — brought the offensive prowess and infectious attitude to Long Island that had endeared him to so many in New England. In just fifty-nine games, he turned on the scorepower to crank out seven goals and twenty-five assists on his new franchise; and considering they’re pushing for the President’s Trophy, his move was far from a downgrade. He won his first Stanley Cup with Boston; it’s likely he could win his second in New York.
At thirty-one, though, few were sure what would happen to the Edmonton native when his contract expired in July.
The Islanders dealt with extending their other summer acquisition, pending RFA Nick Leddy, first. He was inked to a seven year, $38.5 million dollar extension prior to the trade deadline — which pushes him through his thirtieth birthday and a little beyond — in a sign that the former Chicago Blackhawk had a home with the Islanders.
Now, Boychuk has been given the same reassurance.
He broke his own extension on Twitter, sending out his first-ever Tweet with what probably translated to almost childish glee on his end.
Yes! Yes! Yes! For seven more years!!
— Johnny B (@joboych) March 12, 2015
Athur Staple of Newsday confirmed it moments later, breaking the seven year, $42 million dollar deal via his own Twitter account.
This is good news for Boychuk, who was being a bit underpaid in Boston and deserves the six million dollar annual sum he’s going to receive now. It’s a questionable move on the part of the Islanders, though, who now have the veteran blue liner until he’s thirty-eight — which can work in their favor if they name him an alternate captain or value his leadership ability, but could hurt them if he ends up regressing in a few years.
For Islanders fans, though, this is a relief.
The team has been one of the thriftier spenders over time, with lower attendance than almost every other Northeast franchise and some unsettling management narratives.
As such, the massive contracts being dealt to their most coveted players send a message; not only is the team willing to pay guys what they’re worth, the team is willing to make competitive offers to retain talent. They’re no longer trying to ice a roster with hesitant, cap-friendly salaries and agreeable lengths; and although that could be a negative thing in the end, it’s good news for now.