Johnny Boychuk Inks Seven-Year Extension With Isles

The New York Islanders have helped solidify their blue line for the next seven years by inking top-pairing defenseman Johnny Boychuk to a new contract that will see him in an Isles uniform through the 2021-2022 season.

...it doesn't appear that he will be going back to Boston after all.

The contract will pay Boychuk a total of $42 million with an annual cap hit of $6 million per season.

Per the Isles official press-release:

UNIONDALE, NY (March 12, 2015) – The New York Islanders announced today that defenseman Johnny Boychuk has agreed to terms on a seven-year deal, signing through the 2021-22 season.

Boychuk, 31, leads all Islanders defensemen in points (32), assists (25) and plus-minus rating (+17) through 59 games this season. The Edmonton, Alberta native has already established career highs in goals (seven), assists and points in his first season with the Islanders and ninth professional season.

“Johnny’s influence in our dressing room, both on and off the ice, has been immeasurable,” Islanders General Manager Garth Snow said.  “His veteran presence is an asset that we are thrilled to help lead our club.” 

The Islanders acquired Boychuk in a trade with the Boston Bruins on October 4, 2014. In 380 career National Hockey League games with the Colorado Avalanche, Boston and the Islanders, Boychuk has 107 points (26 goals, 81 assists). He’s competed in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the past five seasons and won a Stanley Cup with Boston in 2011. In 79 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, the 6’2, 225-pound defenseman has scored 27 points (13 goals and 14 assists).

“Ever since I came to the Islanders, the organization has been incredible to both myself and my family,” Boychuk said.  “I am proud to be an Islander and look forward to competing every night in front of such a passionate fan base for many years to come.”

This news comes a little over two weeks after the Islanders announced signing Nick Leddy to a seven-year deal as well.

Both Leddy and Boychuk have been a tremendous reason as to why the Isles have had such a successful season, as defense had been a growing concern for the team's blue line in past years.

Now, both Leddy and Boychuk join Travis Hamonic, who is currently in the beggining stages of his seven-year deal with the organization, as well as Calvin de Haan, who signed an extension last year that will see him play through the 2017 season. He will also be an RFA at the end of his contract.

Boychuk, Leddy, Hamonic and de Haan provide a powerful top-four unit that can score goals from the blue line and willingly block shots on a nightly basis. They also are great puck moving defenseman that have allowed for the Isles to transition well out of their zone without neglecting their defensive responsibilities in front of Jaroslav Halak.

The bottom two spots could possibly be retained by Thomas Hickey and Brian Strait. The latter is under contract for one more season, while Hickey is an RFA.

However, impending NHL blue-liners Griffin Reinhart and Ryan Puloch will be pressing for full-time spots next season as well.

The Isles may still be able to provide an infusion of youth on their blue line next year, but can head into next season knowing that they will certainly have a legitimate top-four group of defenders.

-Rob McGowan

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