BOYLE BACK IN BLUE

New York RangersBY: Bruce Berlet

The expected became reality late Thursday night when center Brian Boyle signed a three-year, $5.1 million contract with the Rangers, averting a salary arbitration hearing on July 25.

The Rangers also signed forward Andreas Thuresson to a one-year, two-way contract for $632,500 at the NHL level and $105,000 in the AHL. Thuresson was acquired from Nashville on July 2 for forward Brodie Dupont, who signed a one-year, two-way contract ($550,000 NHL/$80,000 AHL) with the Predators last Friday.

Boyle, who earned $525,000 last season after being acquired for third-round pick in 2010, had given every indication that he would be staying on Broadway when he and Rangers/Connecticut Whale wing Mats Zuccarello worked out with power skating instructor Barb Underwood after prospects camp workouts and scrimmages two weeks ago. The Los Angeles Kings’ first-round pick (26th overall) in 2003 then appeared at the Rangers Summer Youth Hockey Camp, which also was at the Madison Square Garden training center in Greenburgh, N.Y.

“I am really looking forward to the upcoming season,” Boyle told BlueshirtsUnited.com. “I am dedicated to working even harder this off-season to make myself better, and I have started my workouts with Barb Underhill already.”

The 6-foot-7, 245-pound Boyle had career highs in goals (21), assists (14), points (35), games (82), power-play goals (four) and shots (218) and was an effective penalty killer in a breakout 2010-11 season, though he had only three goals in final 31 games before leading the Rangers with 25 shots in five games in a first-round playoff loss to the Washington Capitals. Boyle, 26, had only 12 goals and four assists in 107 games with the Kings and Rangers over his first three seasons, when he also had 41 goals and 42 assists in 114 AHL games with the Manchester Monarchs after switching from defense to forward during four years at Boston College.

Boyle, a native of Hingham, Mass., joined former Wolf Pack defenseman Michael Sauer and center Artem Anisimov as qualified restricted free agents to re-sign with the Rangers. Former Wolf Pack forwards Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan are still scheduled for salary arbitration on Thursday and July 28.

Here’s the official release:

RANGERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH FORWARD BRIAN BOYLE

New York, July 15, 2011 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to terms with forward Brian Boyle on a new contract.

Boyle, 26, skated in 82 games with the Rangers last season, registering 21 goals and 14 assists for 35 points, along with 74 penalty minutes.  He established career-highs in goals, assists, points, power play goals (four), power play points (four), and shots on goal (218).  He also established a career-high in games played, as one of only four Rangers to have skated in all 82 games.  Boyle led the Blueshirts in shots on goal, tied for fourth in goals and ranked first on the team and 11th in the NHL with 240 hits.  In addition, he led the Rangers and tied for second in the NHL with a career-high, three shorthanded assists, and tied for second on the team and 11th in the league with a career-high, four shorthanded points.  Boyle reached the 30-point and 20-goal plateaus for the first time in his career with a two-point performance (one goal, one assist) in a 6-0 win at Washington on February 25.  Boyle made his playoff debut on April 13 at Washington, and led the Rangers with 25 shots in five playoff contests.

The 6-7, 244-pounder has skated in 189 career games with the Rangers and Los Angeles Kings, registering 33 goals and 18 assists for 51 points, along with 167 penalty minutes.  Boyle made his Rangers debut on October 2, 2009 at Pittsburgh, and tallied his first point as a Blueshirt with the game-winning goal on October 14, 2009 vs. Los Angeles.  He skated in his 100th career NHL game on March 7, 2010 vs. Buffalo.  In 2007-08, Boyle notched two points (one goal, one assist) in his NHL debut on February 2 at New Jersey, and recorded four goals and five points in eight games with the Kings that season.

The Hingham, Massachusetts native was acquired by the Rangers from the Kings in exchange for a third round selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft (Jordan Weal) on July 27, 2009.  He was originally selected as Los Angeles’ first round choice, 26th overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

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