Last season, Capitals forward Travis Boyd showed promising growth in his offensive game and seemed primed for a true shot at a spot in the Capitals’ bottom-six forward group and a chance to be a regular contributor in the lineup. However, a number of free agent signings in free agency to bolster the bottom-six forward corps saw the emergence of a sudden road block for the 2011 sixth-round pick. However, the 26-year old forward has made a name for himself since the beginning of the season and is proving he deserves a full-time role in the NHL.
Starting the season with the Capitals as an extra forward, Boyd was eventually sent down to the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears, a move that seemed to light a fire under the 177th overall pick in 2011. In three games played with the Bears, Boyd scored four times (all coming on four shots in his first two games) and added two assists for six points, with a plus-1 rating and a shot percentage of 66.7%. After three games, and with an injury to offseason signing Richard Panik, Boyd was recalled to the Capitals.
Since joining the Caps, and with center Nic Dowd dealing with a day-to-day injury, Boyd has gotten action in three games, and has recorded three assists in all three, averaging 9:48 of ice time and finishing with a plus-3 rating. Boyd’s best game came in the Caps’ 6-1 trouncing of the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night, recording two assists, including a beauty of a pass to Brendan Leipsic which started with a beautiful move to fake out Buffalo star defenseman Rasmus Dahlin.
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) November 2, 2019
Boyd’s offensive output this season is a continuation of his promising performance in 2018-19 (his first full year – save for two games with Hershey – with the Capitals), during which he recorded 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) in 53 games played. Despite this, the Caps still added Panik, Garnet Hathaway, and Leipsic to bolster their bottom-six forward group. However, Boyd’s start to this season is making for an interesting situation once Panik returns from long-term injured reserve and Dowd’s issues are sorted. Still young enough to grow his game, Boyd’s early work in 2019-20 has proven he can make a contribution when given the opportunity and his comments after Friday night’s game indicate the Hopkins, Minnesota native isn’t ready to leave the lineup anytime soon.
“I want to show them what I can do. Hopefully, I can continue to play well and hopefully I can continue to stay in the lineup, as well.” — Travis Boyd, who had a couple of primary assists tonight, including one that should make the highlights. #Caps pic.twitter.com/W69lx7uzWj
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) November 2, 2019
Boyd has proven he is one more asset to the Caps’ bottom-six forward group, and it remains to be seen if he can continue his productive start, and make a name and place for himself in the Capitals’ lineup.
By Michael Fleetwood