It’s not everyday that a serviceable 6’1″ 218 LB 31-year old defenseman is waived by his team, it’s even rarer of an occasion where your struggling and injured team can benefit by picking him up and NOT MOVE A PLAYER IN RETURN.
Such is the case that Islanders GM Garth Snow will find himself in should he opt to claim Nick Boynton off of waivers before 12 o’clock tomorrow afternoon.
Why should Snow put in a claim?
Let’s see, the team has now lost five straight and is still on the playoff bubble stalled at 54 points. The Islanders defensive corps is battered and bruised, having to resort to calling up two stop gaps in Dustin Kohn and Andrew MacDonald (MacDonald is playing over 21 minutes a game and has been impressive, but I digress). Jack Hillen was felled to a broken jaw thanks to Alex Ovechkin’s slapshot last week and will be out 6-8 weeks. Veteran tough guy d-man Brendan Witt has a leg injury and will be out for another 2-3 weeks at best. Lastly on the injury front, Radek Martinek (aka Glass Man) was lost to a knee injury earlier this season and will be out indefinitely.
Looking further into the depth of the Islanders d-corps depth chart:
Bruno Gervais, is just not cutting it and seems to finding himself in the red in the plus/minus column more often than not. His recent pairing with Mark Streit has allowed him better play, thankfully.
Freddy Meyer (FMIV) bounces in and out of the lineup and has been decent, but he is not a top four d-man.
You’re current top four – Andy Sutton, Mark Streit, Bruno Gervais and Andrew MacDonald. The Islanders need defensive help and they need it now.
Boynton is set to make $700,000 for the rest of this season and is a pending UFA, so it’s not really a high risk move by any means. Should Boynton clear waivers, he will be sent down to the Ducks AHL affiliate and if summoned back to the NHL will be exposed to re-entry waivers and only costing a team $350,000 at that point.
To me, shaking up your team and giving them depth by adding a waiver wire claim seems like a good move. Pundits can claim that Boynton has played for three teams in two seasons, he has had his struggles in Anaheim and doesn’t fit the Islanders system. However, the failed experiment this weekend in Philly with Trevor Gillies should point out the need for toughness in the lineup – which Boynton can bring. Looking over his fight card this season (3 fights in his limited playing time) he has fought some tough opponents.
I say give him a shot Garth, but that’s just my opinion – if he doesn’t work out, no harm no foul and you have given up NOTHING.
What do you all think? Discuss in the comments section.