Eric Boulton: The Perfect Enforcer
Many probably did not expect him to be more than just a fourth line forward that only got the call against top heavy opponents like the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins, but Eric Boulton has proven to be a rather reliable player (Photo credit: paul.hadsall/Flickr).
Boulton dressed for 15 of last season's 48 games and did not register a single point. He had a -4 rating and 36 PIMs to go with it.
This year, Boulton has seen 12 games and has two goals, two assists and four points to go along with a +3 rating and 48 PIMs.
When dressed, he has typically taken the spot of Colin McDonald, who has currently skated in 27 of the 38 games played this season. McDonald, like Boulton, only has four points in the exact same fashion but is a whopping -14 (the worst rating on the team).
Despite the numbers, it is hard to argue that McDonald is less versatile than Boulton. McDonald is a better skater, has stronger offensive skills and is an aggressive fore-checker.
Throughout his career, Boulton has typically just been a guy who fights when needed. But this season, Boulton seems to have found a spot on the fourth line; a mobile home, if you will. He can set up shop when given the space and seems to hardly do anything wrong to upset his neighbors on the fourth line when active.
It is important for the Isles to have depth on their bottom two lines. Hitting, grinding, fighting and the occiasional goal from players such as McDonald and Boulton along with Matt Martin, Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas have provided exactly what the team needs from their third and fourth units.
Hopefully the top two lines will start following in their footsteps on a more consistent basis.