Johnny Boychuk's 2013 regular season was not a particularly memorable one for the former AHL Eddie Shore Award winner. Beyond the unimpressive 6 points in 44 games, Boychuk's play could have been described as mediocre. But then again, the same can be said for most of his teammates during the abridged 48 game campaign.
His lone goal came on opening night, on the day of his 29th birthday.
By no means was Boychuk a defensive liability for the Bruins, but as the second highest paid D-man on the roster, many were expecting more from a top-pairing caliber player in the midst of his prime. Which is why it was not a huge surprise to hear his name pop up in trade rumors as the trade deadline approached.
Of course the deadline came and went, and Boychuk remained a Bruin. Which was great news for Boston come playoff time.
The post-season is where Boychuk's worth really came into focus. #55 averaged 23:55 minutes on ice per game, second only to captain Zdeno Chara's otherworldly average of 29:31, and he finally rediscovered his scoring touch. Always a tremendously physical on-ice presence, Johnny Boychuk left his mark on many opponents- most notably Jonathan Toews during Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.
The hit became a topic of discussion around the league. Should Boychuk have been suspended? For Game 6 of the Finals? Are you serious?
Needless to say, Boychuk did play in Game 6. Unfortunately for him, he happened to be on the ice for the devastating last minute goal by David Bolland that clinched the Cup for Chicago.
Evaluating any player in a lockout shortened season can be difficult, but once the playoffs began the real Johnny Boychuk finally made an appearance. Now entering his sixth season with the Bruins organization (and with two years remaining on his contract, carrying an annual cap hit of $3.36 Million), Boychuk will look to build off of his post-season momentum. Often the subject of trade rumors, it will be interesting to see how Boston handles Boychuk should his 2014 regular season play begin to resemble that of his 2013 season.