No Charles Dickens to start this one off. Part One ended up sparking some pretty heated discussion and it will be interesting to see where we go with that. I love getting comments on blog posts even if people disagree with me, it's cool to get some good discussions going. I just ask that comments stay respectful and the language is clean. Remember, somebody's grandma may be reading (including mine).
So with that out of the way, the attention comes to Nathan Boyer who's certainly grabbing enough attention on his own in La Ronge with the frequency he's finding the back of the net at training camp.
2008-09: 32 GP - 10 G - 20 A - 30 P
2009-10: 41 GP - 15 G - 27 A - 42 P
2010-11: 51 GP - 5 G - 10 A - 15 P
2011 Playoffs: 15 GP - 0 G - 4 A - 4 P
2011 Anavet Cup: 7 GP - 1 G - 0 A - 1 P
Break it Down:
- 11 Game increase from first to second season in AAA leads to 12 point increase
- Played 4th line minutes in SJHL rookie season.
- Points per game decreased in playoffs.
The Billet Line (Boyer, Skyler Hladun and Graham Smerek) for those of you new to the blog/broadcasts was a line of 18 year olds all billeted in the same house. They'll also make up parts two through four of the series. On more than one occasion, Coach Bob Beatty referred to this line as his most effective on any given night. Their nightly task: dump and chase the opposition into the ice. Man, were they good at it. This was a line Beatty could send out in pretty much any situation and they weren't just effective, they excelled. They didn't put up the numbers seen by the upper lines, but if momentum was needed, they were the guys.
Boyer was/is the skilled one of the trio. His puck handling is very strong and he's very effective off a quick board chip, featuring enough speed to beat the defender. It took him a while to pick up some points at the SJHL level, but towards the end of the season he started to contribute more regularly on the scoresheet. Boyer displayed the tools to be a scorer, but at times just couldn't get everything rolling at once.
I'm not going to lie, it's tough to predict where Boyer and the rest of his former linemates will put their numbers this season. Obviously their ice time stands the chance of doubling so with that, I think you'll see a substantial increase from Boyer. The argument headed the other way; he'll be facing more competition from top lines. This is true, however, not exactly new. The Billet Line functioned as a sort of secondary shut down line focused on just grinding the puck in the offensive zone. Facing the league's elite (such as his cousin Jeremy Boyer last season) is nothing new to Nathan.
One thing everyone is commenting on through training camp is the great shape Boyer came to La Ronge in. He had a good off-season picked up some more muscle and it seems, added some speed. He also looks confident on the ice. He knows the team is looking for offence from him and is looking to deliver. Early indications are he'll be matched up with Skyler Hladun and someone else (maybe Pavlo Zerebecky) on the opposite wing.
This is the tough part. What is the reasonable expectation for a sophmore player (though he already has two SJHL championship rings) who didn't have a spectacular offensive season last year as a fourth liner? If we take the increased ice time, I believe that can match up reasonably with his AAA increase, which would effectively double his point output. Powerplay time, and playing with the skilled Zerebecky along with big Skyler Hladun, tack on some more. The Ice Wolves expect a solid season from Boyer, and I feel he'll that.
Projected 2011-12 Stat-line: 18 G - 29 A - 37 P