NHL Free Agency: Why Brad Boyes Is Ideal Choice to Be Islanders Top Line RW

Michael DeSantisSenior Analyst IJuly 28, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 14:  Brad Boyes #22 of the Buffalo Sabres skates against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on April 14, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Sabres defeated the Flyers 1-0.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

After the early month acquisition of Brad Boyes to the New York Islanders, the team was given an option of who they should insert to play with John Tavares and Matt Moulson.

Boyes is coming off one of his toughest seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, where he scored only eight goals and 15 assists in 65 games. However, there is plausible evidence he can bounce-back and rejuvenate himself with the Islanders.

Boyes was once a 40 goal scorer with the St. Louis Blues, where he put up 43 goals and 65 points. The next season, he scored 33 goals and 72 points.

Boyes is also in his prime at the age of 30. He's not another old scrub the Isles have picked up, like Jay Pandolfo, Marty Reasoner or Steve Staios.

He still has the ability within himself to be that 30-goal guy. Playing with Tavares and Moulson may really help turn Boyes' career around in the positive direction.

Playing alongside Tavares, Moulson has scored 30 or more goals for three straight seasons. Tavares was able to hit the 80-point plateau in just his third season in the NHL last year. Moulson and Tavares feed off each other.

Adding another sniper like Boyes to the mix will help them as well.

The Tavares factor is just about proven. Anyone who plays with him does well. Just ask Kyle Okposo, Michael Grabner, and P.A. Parenteau. Especially the former two, who saw their point production go up when they were on the top line.

Okposo and Grabner are the other candidates to play the right wing with Tavares and Moulson.

Okposo caught fire with Josh Bailey and Frans Nielsen near the end of last season, and was able to end up with a career best 24 goals. Barring a trade, I feel the three would make a great second line if they continue to play like they did in the twilight stages of last season.

Grabner would make a good case to be the top line forward as well. But maybe it would be better if he was placed with Nino Niederreiter and maybe Ryan Strome.

Tavares and Moulson are definitely the type of players that can turn Brad Boyes' career around and make him that great 30 goal scorer again.

If Jack Capuano decides to place Boyes on the top line, Boyes should be ready to make his decision pay dividends.