Boyes follows up strong

By Stephen J. Holodinsky

How Buoyant is Boyes?

It was just over a year ago that the Leafs drafting 24th overall in the first round, through good fortune and in some cases miscalculation on behalf of other teams scouting staffs, found themselves calling out the name of Brad Boyes with their selection. Going into the draft the Erie pivot had been labelled as too small and too slow despite 82 points in his first campaign out from under the shadow of Tim Connolly. His follow-up season netted him OHL MVP honours and a place on the WJC team, not to mention 90 points evenly split amongst goals and assists.

This comes as no surprise to Erie Coach Dave MacQueen. “He wants the puck when the game is on the line.” His offensive number are also nothing out of the ordinary according to his coach as he has a “great release on the snapper (and his) passes are very accurate and timely.” While the benchboss concedes that Boyes “needs to improve first step” he also maintains that his “overall speed is average.” Further, he goes on to point out that his center is “very shifty at close quarters” and this ability enables him to excel at deking defensemen or goaltenders. That same quality “reduces chances for opponents to get him in trouble physically” although they will find even when standing still the Erie forward “rarely gets knocked off the puck (due to a ) great stance.”
Still, though he “does the job well” when in front of the net, MacQueen acknowledges that this “isn’t his game.” Rather Brad Boyes is a motion player, one who needs to be moving to be most effective. To that end the coach states that while his “puckhandling at speed is very good and he relishes going to the net, he needs to work on keeping his feet moving as sometimes he forgets to skate”

True at 168 pounds, the Mississauga, Ontario native is never going to be a threat to run someone through the boards, but while the coach admits he is “not overly physical” he goes on to say “he can contain.” He also draws attention to the fact that in the Otter’s defensive scheme Boyes “is the low man on defense (and) takes away the pass out of the corner very well.” He also credits the Leaf draft pick with very good anticipation when defending anywhere on the ice. As for his role on the team MacQueen states that “we want ‘Boyesy’ to be creative, without being to high risk and he is capable of doing that.” As it isn’t likely he will make the Leafs out of training camp this year, the Otters will be able to count on that creativity for one more season. Expect Boyes to top 100 points for Erie in what proves to be his final year with the club. For a player that Coach Dave compares to Jamie Langenbrunner “if he improves his acceleration”, that would be a pretty good send off.