When the Arizona Coyotes signed Travis Boyd to a one-year, minimum salary contract this offseason, they certainly did not believe that they were signing their top line center. Yet, that is exactly what has happened in the desert this season as Boyd emerged as the best fit between Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz for the rebuilding club. The ’Yotes didn’t want to let the surprise standout slip away as an unrestricted free agent this summer; they have announced a new two-year deal with Boyd, rewarding him with a $1.75MM AAV that becomes the highest of his career.
Boyd, 28, is enjoying a career year in 2021-22 and has only played in 46 games. His 10 goals and 24 points are already career marks and he has reached new heights defensively as well. He is closing in on new highs in assists and games played and it is virtually impossible for his current 16:23 average time on ice not to stand as a career best. Beyond just personal success, Boyd is also among the top five in per-game goals and points among Coyotes forwards – a place he has never been close to previously in his NHL career.
Of course, Boyd’s role on the Coyotes would not be occurring anywhere else in the NHL but with the league’s most shallow roster. This lends itself to why Arizona’s “No. 1 center” commands only a sub-$2MM cap hit. Nevertheless, Boyd has risen to the occasion for the ’Yotes this season and – while for the good of the franchise the hope is that he does not remain in a first line role for much longer – the team knows they can trust him moving forward.