Apr 2, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) receives congratulations from teammates after scoring in the first period against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Johnny Boychuk has played nearly every NHL game in a Bruins jersey. (There were those four games playing for the Colorado Avalanche, but they don’t really count here.) He’s been a reliable and dependable top/second pair for the Boston Bruins these last few seasons. No matter how hard the thirty year old blueliner tries to skate away from the trade rumors and discussions, he’s reminded that he’s the top name on people’s lips when it comes to a big trade for the Bruins.
“It’s tough to hear, but at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter what anybody says,” Boychuk told the MetroWest Daily News. “If it happens, you have to work on that part. But until it does, you have to keep playing the way you can. You always want to stay here, but if something happens, then it does and you want to stay with the guys you grew up playing with.”
Boychuk’s contract is a modest $3.36 million against the Bruins salary cap. His contract expires at the end of the year. (That the Bruins would entertain trading a quality player who is loyal to Boston (unlike Phil Kessel) in his final year of the contract is an argument for another time.) The Bruins have a player that has all but said he’s willing to take a hometown discount to stay in Boston. He’s not even willing to compare himself to other NHL defensemen who cashed in big this season. (Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen lead that group.)
“Well, we’re in different situations,” said Boychuk. “Not necessarily better or worse. You don’t want to compare yourself to anybody. At the end of the day, it’s about what I do.”
The problem with the Bruins front office is they have a knack of trading players who have made Boston home, and want to retire there. Andrew Ference became an adopted son of the North End of Boston. This was the guy who put the Stanley Cup in a stroller and took it through the streets of Boston. He loves the city and plans on returning after hockey. Due to the cap crunch, the Bruins had to cut him loose. Then there is the whole Shawn Thornton being a full blown resident of Charlestown, and how the Bruins cut him as well.
In the end, Boychuk made his intentions clear for all when he was asked what he thought his trade worth was for Boston. “I don’t even know what I’m worth. I’m just worth what somebody’s willing to give, I guess. I don’t want to be traded at all.”
The Bruins need to keep Johnny Boychuk. He’s a fan favorite, he’s great at what he does, and he responds well to the Julien system of two way, defensive minded hockey. Is it worth the loss of Matt Bartkowski and Adam McQuaid to keep him in the Black and Gold. Yes, I believe it is.