Islanders top unit: Will Brad Boyes return to form?

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We here at Islanders 101 are set to begin a long series of team and player breakdowns as we inch closer and closer to the (hopeful) drop of the puck. And this post will start where fans are confident, the first offensive line.This is by far the best unit on this team, as any team’s Line 1 should be. The question is, has it improved since last year? Remove P.A. Parenteau from the equation and add Brad Boyes to a line that already includes John Tavares and Matt Moulson (who we’ll get to in a bit).

The New York Islanders front office made the decision to let Parenteau walk this summer, and he eventually signed with the Colorado Avalanche.  The Isles chose to replace him by signing Boyes to a low-risk, high-reward contract.

For those who don’t know, Boyes signed a one-year, $1 million deal. A huge bargain for someone projected to be on the team’s top unit.

Although, this discount is in large part due to his disappearing act the past few years. He was a 30-goal scorer a few seasons ago in St. Louis, but only registered eight goals in Buffalo last season. He said his 23 points last season, the fewest he’s ever scored in a season since his rookie year, were attributed to the fact that he simply didn’t fit into the Sabres’ system.

He does think, however, that he’ll fit in with Moulson and Tavares.

“He (Tavares) definitely stands out. He’s made a great combination with Moulson too. They complement each other very well. To get an opportunity with those guys, I think it’s going to be great. You never know, but I’m looking to fit in with those guys or wherever I fit in. If I do get a chance to play with Tavares, I’m going to take advantage and I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Boyes said.

Obviously, he is looking to return to the Brad Boyes of old, and reach the 30-goal plateau for the first time in four years. If there are two guys that could help with that quest, it’s John Tavares and Matt Moulson.

Both guys have worked together since joining the Islanders, and both players have improved each season.

Moulson has scored 30-plus goals the past three years and is also starting to find his line mates more often and consistently, as made evident by his 33 assists from a season ago. Tavares on the other hand, has always been a play maker, and the main reason Boyes has a chance at success on the Island.

He turned in the best performance of his career last year, and registering 50 assists in a stepping stone of what Islanders’ fans expect for years. Tavares will get his goals, but the only way this line has success is if he can find his teammates.

Overall, we here at Islanders 101 feel this line will suffer with Parenteau no longer on board. He was a very underrated passer on the Isles’ top unit and helped both Moulson and Tavares achieve career years.

Mouslon and Tavares should continue to blossom into a great duo on the first line, however, we at Islanders 101 feel the Boyes hype is mostly for show, and he will in fact disappoint. We expect he’ll hit the net between 15-20 times, far less than the 30-goal campaign expected of him.



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