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Get to Know an Islander: Johnny Boychuk

As part of the build-up to the first-round playoff series between the Capitals and the Islanders, Japers' Rink will be looking at some of the important but perhaps lesser-known players on the Islanders and how they might impact the series.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Johnny Boychuk

#55 / Defenseman / New York Islanders

6-2 |  225 |  Jan 19, 1984

Edmonton, ALB |  61st, 2002 (Colorado)

Assets Owns a heavy point shot (an asset on the power play) and has good instincts that endear him to his coaches. Is a quality teammate. Loves to initiate contact.
Flaws Is somewhat limited in terms of his defensive game, so he can't always be trusted to play top-four rearguard minutes. His skating is also average at best.
Career Potential Big-shooting defenseman with size.
(Assets, Flaws and Career Potential via The Hockey News player page)

Career Rolling Corsi-For Percentage:

Boychuk Usage

HERO chart (via Own the Puck):

Boychuk HERO

2015 Islanders Player Usage:

boychuk usage

Why you should know who he is: Acquired from the Bruins back in October, Boychuk was part of a major push by Islanders' management to equip the team with NHL-caliber defense and goaltending - and by gum if it didn't work. Boychuk has become one of the Isles' top defensemen, logging big minutes (his 21:41 ranks second behind Travis Hamonic) and, perhaps more surprisingly, putting up big points (35, a career high and second among NYI blueliners behind fellow newcomer Nick Leddy). One of those points? This overtime winner on the power play:

How the Caps can stop him: For one thing, don't let him have time and space to unleash that slapper - and a good way to do that is to stay out of the box, because the power play is where he'll have the most time and space to do just that. Prior to arriving in Nassau County, Boychuk hadn't been relied upon to do much on the power play (after all, why would you use his slapshot when you've got Zdeno Chara patrolling the beat?). Since joining the Islanders, however, he's got five power-play goals and another ten helpers, blowing away the numbers he'd put up in the five previous seasons combined and helping him to a career-high shot total.

Aside from that, a good way to stop him is probably the same way the Caps will need to play to stop the rest of his team - play heavy, play physical, make him have to take the hit to make a play (or better yet, hit him so he can't make a play). Not to condone causing harm, of course, but he's yet to play an 82-game slate, so he may be prone to injury now and then... and really, who isn't injury prone when they've got Tom Wilson coming at them full speed?