Travis Boyd came out of nowhere to have the undisputed best season of his career.
The Arizona Coyotes team for the 2021-22 season was completely different than the team the season prior. General Manager Bill Armstrong shipped out anyone who could bring in a second-round pick to jump-start the rebuild. But in addition to acquiring veteran players via trade, the Coyotes elected to sign free agent Travis Boyd for a one-year, $750,000 deal.
Games Played: 74
TOI/Games Played: 16:31
PP TOI: 122:37
PK TOI: 46:44
Boyd was drafted in the sixth round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, and it took a while for him to find his footing. He played three seasons with the Washington Capitals and split the 2020-21 season between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks. Before playing for the Coyotes, his best season was his first full season with the Capitals, where he played 53 games and registered a then-career-high five goals and 15 assists.
With those numbers, most people did not expect much from Travis Boyd. He was an under-the-radar signing who had been around for years but failed to make the jump to full-time NHL player, much less an impactful player.
But the Coyotes are a perfect team for a player looking to show what he can do. Arizona had a lot of holes in their lineup, which gave Boyd a chance to play up.
Boyd eventually found a spot between Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz on the top line. He had great chemistry with the two forwards and finished with 17 goals and 18 assists in 74 games, setting new career-highs.
Even without Keller, Boyd did continue to generate offense. He ended his season with a three-game goal streak.
Travis Boyd’s chemistry with Keller and Schmaltz saw him get some decent power play time. He was 6th on the team in power play minutes, although it didn’t help his stats too much. He had two goals and two assists on the man advantage, with both his assists being primary assists.
Boyd was one of the more exciting players this past season. He came in with no expectations but ended up being one of the bright spots this season. It’s still too early to say if he can maintain his high pace from last season, but if he can, the Coyotes have a steal of a depth player.
Bill Armstrong was clearly impressed with Boyd’s play and re-signed him for a two-year, $3.5 million deal. It’s a very team-friendly deal that should provide flexibility while giving Boyd a raise.
Boyd’s time as a number one center probably won’t last forever, but he doesn’t have too much competition right now. Any player the Coyotes draft this year will likely end up spending at least another year developing, and he doesn’t have much internal competition besides Barrett Hayton, who is also probably a few years off.
That may change depending on who the Coyotes acquire during the offseason, but Boyds’ chemistry with Keller and Schmaltz makes it likely he will spend at least next season on the top line.