Players dream of one day making the NHL. Everyone knows how hard it is to get there, but few realize how difficult it can be to stay. Travis Boyd learned that first hand this season. After a full season in the NHL last year in which he played 61 games, Boyd was put on waivers after Evgeny Kuznetsov returned from suspension and sent to Hershey.
Boyd is not the first player to be sent back down to the AHL and he won’t be the last. Some players do not handle this well and their stats plummet. Boyd, however, took the opposite approach.
The best way to show you are an NHL player is by dominating the league below it and that is exactly what Boyd has been doing.
In two games with the Bears, he scored four goals and two assists. That performance earned him AHL Player of the Week honors.
On Wednesday, Richard Panik suffered an injury and was placed on long-term injured reserve. It was no surprise to see Boyd as the first forward to get called up.
The injury leaves Panik out of the lineup for at least 10 games. Head coach Todd Reirden said Friday that Boyd will travel with the team on its upcoming road trip. If he gets into a game, it is now up to him to do what he did in the AHL, prove he belongs.
With a total cap hit of only $800,000, Boyd would be doing the team a favor if he can outplay another player like Chander Stephenson has a larger cap hit. It all depends on what he can do with his opportunity.
Other prospect notes
- In addition to Boyd, Martin Fehervary was also recalled on Friday with Jonas Siegenthaler being a game-time decision. Siegenthaler is expected to play on Friday, but it is worth keeping an eye on to see if the team tries to get Fehervary a game or two while they have cap flexibility with Panik on LTIR. It is doubtful he will stick around given that Tyler Lewington has a smaller cap hit. The salary cap house of cards likely does not work without Lewington’s $675,000, but this could be an opportunity to get Fehervary another game.
- Tarik El-Bashir of The Athletic got a chance to speak with Pheonix Copley and Christian Djoos, two other players who did not expect to start the season in the AHL. You can read his story here.
- Axel Jonsson-Fjallby scored two goals against the Toronto Marlies on Wednesday. His greatest asset is his speed and he used it on both goals. The first was a steal in the neutral zone that he was able to turn into a breakaway when he turned on the jets. The second was a breakout from the defensive zone. His speed put a lot of pressure on the defense and he never stopped going to the front of the net. He started the play and finished it with a tip-in for the goal. You can watch the highlights here:
- Defenseman Bobby Nardella has yet to play for Hershey this season. I was asked about this for this week’s Caps Mailbag so I reached out to a team official. There is no injury, the situation is just that there are nine defensemen on the roster and the top four is set with Alex Alexeyev, Erik Burgdoerfer, Djoos, and Fehervary. That leaves Lucas Johansen, Connor Hobbs, Colby Williams, Tobias Geisser and Nardella all fighting for those final two spots in the lineup. Is nine defensemen too many? I don’t know enough about the day-to-day operations of an AHL team to be able to answer that. It seems like it would be beneficial to send one or two of those nine to the ECHL to get more playing time, but that does not seem to be the plan for now. Maybe Fehervary going to Washington can get Nardella a game.
- Alexeyev saw his chance to make the NHL out of camp evaporate after a hit to the head in the prospects showcase. El-Bashir caught up with him in Hershey to see how he is handling life with the Bears.
- Connor McMichael has been named to the Team OHL roster for the Canada-Russia series. The series is an annual tournament for junior players from both Canada and Russia. Russia brings a team of junior players to Canada to play all-star rosters from the QMJHL, OHL, and WHL. The OHL team will play Russia on Nov. 7 and 11.
- Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News expects this to be a big year for McMichael.
- Eric Florchuk earned First Star honors for his performance on Monday. He led Saskatoon to a 9-3 win over Calgary with a hat-trick performance.
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