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Could Rangers fans' love/hate relationship with Brian Boyle be drawing to a close?
Boyle has been a healthy scratch for the past three games. In that time, the Rangers have picked up three wins, and it's becoming clear that they're playing better hockey without him.
Don't get me wrong, I like Boyle; he brings a lot of good things to the table, but he may be too slow for this team. Mike Rupp was moved last week because he was too slow, while Darroll Powe was brought in as his replacement.
As a result, the Rangers have put together a fourth line of Asham/Halpern/Powe, that, combined with JT Miller taking Boyle's sport as third-line center, has allowed this team to become significantly faster.
Torts now easily runs four lines and the team looks much fresher and has played noticeably better.
Boyle has some value, too. He wouldn't be very difficult to move and could fetch a decent return if he is indeed dangled as trade bait.
Although it may make sense to move Boyle, it would also be difficult for the team to part ways with the center. He's poured his heart and soul into this team and is a very serviceable fourth-line center, but he may have given all he can give in a Torts system. Jeff Halpern is just a better player right now. He's a great faceoff man, a much better skater and, despite being seven inches shorter than Boyle, is actually better on the boards.
But there's still time before the deadline comes around and a lot can happen between now and then. Guys can get injured or their play can tail off. We'll have to wait and see. But as of now, Boyle looks like ideal trade bait for the Rangers.