With a consistent, friendly personality in the locker room, Johnny Boychuk is a favorite among the media and his teammates. Perhaps the same can’t be said from players on the receiving end of his notorious one-timers. On the ice, Boychuk is a defensive force to be reckoned with and his physicality proves him a key player in the Boston organization. Boychuk’s consistent play earned him a three-year contract extension back in February. Boychuk has posted 5 goals, 10 assists and currently is a plus-24 on the season.
Extensions and points aren’t the only things bringing Boychuk recognition as of late. The Bruins defender has been nominated as a candidate for the Masterton Trophy this season. The Masterton Trophy is awarded annually to the NHL player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey.” Each team nominates one player in competition and the winner is selected by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Boston couldn’t have picked a better nominee. Despite recent success and a Stanley Cup under his belt, a place on an NHL roster wasn’t always a guarantee for No. 55.
“You know, the first six years I think I didn’t know exactly what I was going to be, either a forward or a D-man,” Boychuk said. “Even though I wanted to play defense, I had to play fourth line forward in the minors to grind it out, and then finally make it here.”
The nomination is certainly an honor, one that Boychuk appreciates and one well deserved according to his coach, Claude Julien.
“At one point it looked like he was going to be that minor-leaguer who was going to be an All-Star there and spend most of his career in that league. He got an opportunity with us and he took full advantage of it,” said Julien. “People that remember, he was a healthy scratch for a long time before he even got a chance to be a regular on our hockey club. But when he did, because he’d worked so hard as an extra, he kept himself in real good shape and kept himself as sharp as he could, when that opportunity came he took advantage of it.”
As the regular season winds down, the playoffs are just around the corner. With just 10 games left in the season, it’s almost certain that Boychuk will continue to exhibit “Masterton” worthy play both on and off the ice.