For Johnny Boychuk, the writing was on the wall.
The Boston Bruins traded Boychuk to the New York Islanders earlier this month. The move sent shockwaves throughout Boston, but Boychuk, a free agent after this season, knew a deal was possible given the lack of communication with the Bruins about a potential contract extension.
“We didn’t talk, so I just figured something’s probably going to happen,” Boychuk told WEEI.com’s DJ Bean earlier this week, before he returns to TD Garden for Thursday night’s game against the Bruins.
Boychuk was a valuable contributor during his six seasons with the Bruins. He emerged as a leader on Boston’s blue line and in the locker room, earning a positive reputation among teammates. The B’s needed to alleviate some salary cap pressure, though, and Boychuk’s $3.36 million cap hit ultimately made him the odd defenseman out.
“They didn’t tell me (their plans), but we all knew,” Boychuk told Bean. “You knew that somebody was going to get moved. Even if you don’t watch hockey, you would know that somebody’s going to get moved, just because we had eight guys.
“You’re not going to carry two extra D-men. We usually (carried) one, but you’re not going to carry two. They thought they got the best deal for me, so that’s the way it goes. That’s the way the league is.”
Boychuk has hit the ground running in his new home, scoring two goals and adding four assists in six games with the Islanders. The Bruins landed a decent haul — two second-round picks (the Philadelphia Flyers’ in 2015 and the Islanders’ in 2016) and a conditional third-round choice (2015) — in the trade, but the 30-year-old certainly is missed by Boston.
Photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images
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