Key Stat: Boyd had a strong showing in his rookie campaign as a versatile fourth-line forward, and in 53 games this season, he was able to put up five goals and 20 points. His first NHL goal came against the Blue Jackets in December, and it was assisted by Alex Ovechkin. Ironically enough, last season, Boyd got his first NHL point by assisting on an Ovechkin goal against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Good: Boyd came into camp in great shape and had a stellar preseason that won him a spot on the Washington roster. He was not only a powerhouse that was able to create momentum on the forecheck, but he proved to be a gritty, determined and dedicated player who would sacrifice his body to block shots and make big plays.
Near the end of the preseason and right before opening night, Boyd blocked a shot that resulted in a lower-body injury that placed him on the long-term injured reserve to start the season. The setback raised questions as to whether or not Boyd would be able to return and play at the same level he started with, as well as if he’d be the odd man out as others filled his void on the fourth line.
In the end, the injury didn’t impact him much at all; he kept up with his recovery and off-ice conditioning and returned to the ice quickly, and he was able to pick up right where he left off. When he finally returned to the ice in November, Boyd put up two assists in his first game back against the Edmonton Oilers and went on to register five assists in his first nine games of the year.
Not to mention, he was able to be aggressive and play a strong 200-foot game, as well as even become an asset on the penalty kill. The 25-year-old also clicked with anyone on his line, and thanks to his work ethic as a rookie still fighting for an NHL spot and his determined, dynamic style of play, he was able to earn accolades and ice time from the coaching staff.
The Bad: Despite a strong start, Boyd’s play saw inconsistency over time. Toward the middle and end of the season, his play dropped off and he wasn’t making the same impact he was before. The fourth line started to see an overall decline in production, and as pieces like Devante Smith-Pelly, Chandler Stephenson and Carl Hagelin came into play, Boyd would find himself on the outs.
The center also struggled in the face-off circle, winning just 36.2 percent of his draws. Considering his goal is to establish himself as the permanent fourth-line center and also prove to be a utility forward that can be used anywhere, this is an important skill he will have to master moving forward.
Additionally, when it comes to Boyd’s woes, he didn’t get much playing time or the chance to really take charge or control of his stats. This carried on into the postseason, when Todd Reirden elected to go with Stephenson on the fourth line instead of Boyd, and when Boyd did get to suit up for a first-round tilt with the Hurricanes, he wasn’t able to accomplish enough to keep that spot.
The Discussion: Heading into the season, Boyd was expected to step in and fill the vacant fourth-line center role left by Jay Beagle. However, he’d have to compete with Nic Dowd for it. And though it seemed Boyd had the better play early on, it was Dowd who ultimately proved better and won that spot permanently, even earning a three-year extension.
What do you see Boyd’s role being - and is there room for him on this Caps’ squad going forward? At 25, has he already achieved his ceiling as an NHLer or do you see room for a bit more growth in his game? What would it take for you to rate him a ‘10’ next season?
Other Boyd Season Reviews: Peerless
The Vote: Rate Boyd below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.
How do you rate Travis Boyd’s 2018-19 season?
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