Earlier today, shocking news struck the NHL world when the Islanders announced that defenseman Johnny Boychuk’s career was over. Boychuk’s career ends due to an eye injury he suffered in early March during a game against the Montreal Canadians when Boychuk caught the skate of Artturi Lehkonen to the eye. An injury that would require 90 stitches to repair. Although Boychuk did return to the Islanders for the playoffs after the season was paused due to COVID-19, Boychuk only played three games for the team before suffering a concussion that would see him miss the remainder of the Isles run in the playoffs.
In a statement made by the Islanders, it was clarified that he wasn’t retiring. But his career was, in fact, over. Boychuk will most likely be placed on the LTIR (long-term injury reserve) until his contract expires following the 2021-22 season. Because of this, the Islanders will have an additional six million dollars to spend, that money will likely be used to extend Mat Barzal.
Boychuk’s First Year on the Island
Johnny Boychuk arrived with the Islanders days before the start of the 2014-15 season. Boychuk was acquired in a trade from the Bruins in exchange for two future second-round picks. For an Islanders team on the cusp of being competitive, he was expected to be a major piece in an Islanders. A team expected to finally take the next step. Boychuk quickly became a fan favorite, his lockdown defensive ability, and booming slap-shot made him an exciting player to watch on the island. In his first season with the Islanders, he logged a career-high 35 points. Scoring nine goals in 26 games. And in the playoffs, he played a pivotal role. Shutting down Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin in the first round of the 2015 playoffs. Although the Isles lost the series, he was one of the shining stars.
Seven More Years
In the middle of the 2014-15 season. Boychuk signed a 42 million dollar contract to remain with the Islanders for an additional seven years. In his second year on the island, he played a pivotal role in an Islanders team that won their first playoff series in over 20 years. And in 2018-19, he played 74 games for an Islanders team that shocked the NHL world. Making the playoffs just a season after superstar captain John Tavares left the team for Toronto.
Thank You, Boychuk
Through three coaching changes, plenty of player changes, and even two arena changes. Johnny Boychuk remained one of the constants in the Islanders lineup over the last five years. Johnny could always be relied upon to send a hard slapper to the net or to lock down a team’s top defenseman. Boychuk will be missed dearly by all Isles fans. Thank you, Johnny Boychuk.