Though he was originally a first-round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Brad Boyes never got the chance to wear the blue and white in a meaningful game. Now, a dozen years after his departure, the Mississauga native gets a chance to right that wrong, joining the Leafs on a PTO.
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) September 10, 2015
Boyes, for all intents and purposes, shouldn’t still be an unrestricted free agent at this point. Travis Yost wrote a great piece on TSN.ca in the middle of July wondering why he was still available. The jist of the argument was as follows:
- Boyes’ raw production – 38 points in 78 games is quite respectable for a winger who bounced between the second and third lines.
- It was also worthy of his $2.5 million salary; the Panthers bought out his contract with a year remaining, but from a hockey perspective, that made little to no sense.
- Boyes is one of 45 players who have increased their team’s odds of having a scoring chance while they’re on the ice in five consecutive years. He’s the only one who isn’t signed, and the average salary of the other 44 is $5.8 million.
- All of this considered, Boyes was a good value signing. A month and a half ago, before the prices crashed.
Boyes has never really found himself in a position to truly cash in on a contract. At his peak – fresh off of a 65 point season in 2007/08, Boyes signed a four-year, $16 million contract to give him a cap hit of $4 million. Since then, the only team to offer him more than a million dollars and a multi-year deal was the Panthers, who parachuted out halfway through.
Nostalgia has left Leafs fans always wanting to add Boyes to the roster. One of the “guys who got away”, he was drafted 24th overall in 2000 and traded to the San Jose Sharks, along with Alyn McCauley and a first-round pick, for Owen Nolan. Since then, Boyes has put up sixty points three times, once exploding for 43 goals, and has been a generally safe bet for a production rate of forty points over 82 games.
Boyes’ 1.67 points per 60 even strength minutes was good for seventh on the Panthers last season, and would have ranked him second on the Maple Leafs.
Of course, the Leafs have the same issue as they did yesterday when we talked about Curtis Glencross’ PTO. There is an abundance of forwards on the roster, and only a handful of spots to place them. It’s likely that Boyes will be the fan favourite of the tryout trio, so it’s up to him to back it up with impressive play throughout the preseason.
Credit where credit is due, by the way; Leafs management has done a great job in securing looks at some reasonably capable and likely cheap talent. If any of Boyes, Glencross, or Setoguchi play well enough to make the team, those are free assets picked up through heads-up plays.