Longtime New York Islanders defenceman Johnny Boychuk’s career is officially over. It’s a really sad day for all Islander fans as one of the guys who changed the franchise around has to retire early.
Hearing the trade for Boychuk and Nick Leddy simultaneously, every NHL fan knew the Islanders were on the upswing. And that trade doesn’t feel so long ago, but that was 6 years in the past. Johnny Boychuk isn’t that elite 30-year-old with the booming slapshot anymore. He’s a great 36-year-old veteran who would give it his all 60 minutes a night.
Johnny Boychuk is being forced to retire due to his eye injury that happened back in March. His face was sliced by a skate while in front of the net. He currently has permanent nerve damage in his eye and bad peripheral vision. It’s a sad ending for a fan favorite.
Johnny Boychuk will never step on the ice ever again for a professional Hockey team. As he said, “it’s not a decision, it was a life choice I guess.” Johnny Boychuk will take a behind the scenes role with some team. It’ll probably be the Islanders as he tries to win his second Stanley Cup, but this time he’ll win it off the ice. Lou Lamoriello loves to keep his guys around, so it wouldn’t shock anyone if Boychuk doesn’t leave the Island for good.
In this sad situation, there are only two positives I can think of from this. One is that Johnny Boychuk will be safe, and we won’t have to worry about him on the ice. If his eye started going and he couldn’t see someone coming at him, yeah, that’s very bad. All Isles fans want the best for Johnny Rocket.
Another positive is the cap space. The Islanders gain back a good amount of cap space from this and should be able to sign Mat Barzal now. Also, they have those 2 second-round picks from the Toews trade lying around. All in all, I love you, Boychuk. It’s been a pleasure watching you for so many years, thank you for everything. It’s okay, you can go now, you did everything you could, the Islanders will be fine.