Every week, Nova Caps strives to highlight a different prospect in Washington’s organization. Through these articles, we hope to give fans a bit of information about players who could soon be recalled as has been the case with Paul Carey and Jakub Vrana. We add some facts about the guys and ask a series of light-hearted questions which are at the bottom of the articles. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we enjoy talking with these young players.
He may be the next forward to get a shot in Washington, but for right now, Travis Boyd is just on the radar as Barry Trotz said there was a “0.0” chance that he would be bringing anyone up on January 1, 2017. That may change though before the Capitals head out on a road stretch. One of the guys Trotz mentioned in that same press conference was Travis Boyd, this week’s NoVa Caps’ Prospect of the Week.
Boyd quite literally burst onto the professional hockey scene in April 2015 after a successful four-year career at the University of Minnesota. In four years with the Golden Gophers, Boyd appeared in 148 games, scoring 32 goals and recording 64 assists. He and his teammates were conference champions all four years, qualified for the NCAA tournament all four years, and advanced to the Frozen Four twice.
A 2011 draft pick by the Washington Capitals in the 6th round, the center made his AHL debut April 14 of that year and scored his first AHL goal and assist just four days later against Lehigh Valley, earning second star honors.
Last season, Boyd trailed only Riley Barber in Hershey’s impressive crop of rookies with 53 points. The only player on Hershey’s roster to play in all 76 regular season games for the Bears, Boyd recorded 21 goals and 32 assists to finish third on the team behind Chris Bourque and Barber in points.
In the postseason, the predominantly rookie team advanced to the Calder Cup Finals before losing to the Monsters. In 21 postseason games, Boyd recorded 9 points (2G, 7A).
So far this season, Boyd leads the team with 30 points. He has 10 goals and 20 assists, appearing in all 32 games so far this season. But there was a big scare in November when Boyd was sent face-first, hard into the boards. Head trainer Dan Stuck or Beaker as he is known to Hershey’s fans, vaulted over the boards and raced towards Boyd in the corner. By the time he got there, Boyd was up and on his feet.
“I got really lucky on that one; I hit the dasher which is the worst place to hit,” recalled Boyd. “But I got really lucky I hit my visor. If that was about two inches further down, I probably would have lost all eight of my front teeth – those would have been gone. Similar to what Djoos did tonight. I kind of got up – a couple of things – I got lucky and I didn’t want to stay down and milk it because there’s rules now where if you get hit in the head then you have to come out of the game, so I didn’t want to stay down and have to come out of the game and do a concussion test and all of that because those are the new rules now. Also I was pretty pissed off so I kind of wanted to get up and I guess say something to the guy that hit me and I just got built up with rage and snapped up as quick as I could.”
But he didn’t take a penalty then and very rarely has while playing in Hershey. Last year he had 24 penalty minutes. So far this year – just 8. And when he’s on the ice, good things are happening. Last year, he was +6. So far this year – +14.
Boyd was impressive in training camp as well. He was sent back to Hershey when the Caps trimmed their roster to 30 and the door was left open for a potential recall in the case of an injury to one of Washington’s forwards. Added to his impressive performances over the past two seasons, Boyd has positioned himself to be a potential recall soon.
Just the Facts
Drafted: 2011 Round 6 (#177) by the Washington Capitals
Number: Hershey – 15
DOB: September 14, 1993
First AHL Goal: April 18, 2014 for Hershey against Lehigh Valley
First AHL Point: April 18, 2014 for Hershey against Lehigh Valley
He Said It
After a recent game, I sat down with Travis and asked him to finish a few sentences that I started.
Teammate I’d never want to fight – There’s a few. Liam O’Brien I don’t want to fight him. Actually Tyler Lewington, he’s quiet, but when that guy’s switch gets flipped, he is a mean guy and he’s strong. Zach Sill too. We have a lot of guys, even Garrett Mitchell too, when he gets mad. Come to think of it we have a lot of guys I wouldn’t want to fight.
Best part of being in Hershey – unlimited supply of chocolate
I try to model my game after – That’s tough. I like watching Claude Giroux for the Flyers. He’s right-handed and I think we have similar games, so I guess I’d go with him.
I started playing hockey when I was – in my backyard. I was on skates when I was just over two years old. I had an older brother who played. He’s 3 and a half years older than I am. He started playing when he was 5 or 6 and then obviously I just wanted to do anything he did even with I was two-and-a half, three-years old, so it got me started.
My favorite sport other than hockey is – that’s tough. I like a lot. I like golf a lot and I’ve always been a big baseball fan. I played soccer growing up. I still love soccer. I think that’s really cool, especially the English Premier Leagues and stuff like that. I obviously like football, pretty much everything. I don’t think I have any one favorite.
If I wasn’t playing hockey I would – that’s a really hard question. I have a degree in Business and Marketing, but I had to do an internship in college and my internship involved me sitting in a office for 8 hours a day and I can’t do that. I wanted to lose my mind by the end of the summer. So I don’t know, doing something. I’d like to say playing a different sport, but that’s not really a viable answer, so I don’t know. Maybe be a salesperson. You get to interact with a lot of different people – I like doing that.
My Czech teammates – are crazy and weird. No, they’re funny, good guys. I actually was roommates with Jakub Vrana on the road all last year, so I got to know him really well. They’re funny guys. You gotta love them. When they’re together, they’re a good time and fun to be around.
Capitals Head Coach Barry Trotz – “If we are going to bring in an extra forward, it may be someone in a different role or it could be a less expensive player just to have in that’s played very well down there (Hershey). I think Jakub and guys like Sanford and Boyd down there and O’Brien, they’re giving some back side pressure so our forwards know that to be in the line-up it’s not just a given.”
Boyd on how he’s found so much success so soon – “I think a lot of it is just being able to play with really good players. Last year I was with Chris Bourque most of the year, and obviously he’s one of the best all time to play here, so and then this year as of late playing with Liam O’Brien who’s as of late been unreal. Got to play with Vrana early in the year, so I think a lot of the credit goes to who I’m playing with and then once you kind of get onto a roll and start playing with confidence, I think it snowballs. When you have confidence you start making plays and when you start making plays then you just get more and more confidence. Also I think Coach Mann does a good job. He doesn’t limit me or doesn’t limit anyone really on what they can do. He kind of lets you just play how you want to play and make plays out there. I think it’s a combination of pretty much all of those things.
Boyd on former teammate and now opposing goalie Adam Wilcox – “We were teammates for three years. I put a little effort into trying to score in games I get to play against Wilcox and it’s always fun. He’s a great goalie and I think it’s actually almost harder to score on him than any other goalie because he kind of knows what I like to do. I shot on him every day for three years so, it is kind of tough, but I was actually able to score on him last year, so I kind of joked around with him about it after the game last year which was fun.”
By Julie Beidler