Frozen Royalty: Dean Lombardi: Can Purcell Build Confidence, Add Grit?
JANUARY 27, 2010 — LOS ANGELES — On June 27, 2009, during the 2009 National Hockey League Entry Draft, then-Los Angeles Kings center prospect Brian Boyle was traded to the New York Rangers for a third round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Much was expected of Boyle, a 6-7, 248-pound center with a scoring touch who was selected by the Kings in the first round (26th overall) in 2003 NHL Entry Draft. At the time, former Kings General Manager Dave Taylor said that he would be a project, but in Boyle’s four years at Boston College, he excelled.
Even at the American Hockey League level, Boyle was a solid contributor offensively for the Manchester Monarchs, the Kings’ primary minor league affiliate, even though the Kings tried to convert him to a defenseman, an experiment that failed miserably.
But even with his great physical gifts, especially for a player with his size and strength, Boyle has still been unable to figure out, even with the Rangers, that he has to use his those gifts in order to succeed in the NHL, something the Kings tried to get him to learn.
Although Boyle showed flashes of the grit he will need to succeed at the NHL level, most of the time, he failed to win the physical battles along the boards and in the corners, or worse, was a spectator, just a few feet away.
Boyle’s four goals and two assists for six points in 51 games this season, along with his average ice time of just 8:26, indicate that he still has not learned that lesson.
Like Boyle, Kings right wing Teddy Purcell is facing the same challenges, even though he does not possess Boyle’s size and strength. But to this point in his NHL career, Purcell has been unable to add the necessary grit to his game and that begs the question:
If Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi could give up on Boyle because he could not play with enough grit, will he do the same with Purcell?
Probably not, at least, not as quickly.
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