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Boulton Adds Toughness to Isles Forwards

Newest Islander has a reputation for defending teammates; will provide a veteran presence in the locker room

Monday, 07.02.2012 / 4:14 PM / News
By Travis Betts
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Boulton Adds Toughness to Isles Forwards
Eric Boulton (top) has amassed 1265 penalty minutes during his 11-year NHL career (Getty Images)

The New York Islanders continued to add toughness on the second day of the free agent signing period, inking forward Eric Boulton to a one-year deal Monday.

Boulton, a veteran of 600 NHL games over 11 seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, Atlanta Thrashers and New Jersey Devils, has averaged over two penalty minutes per game during his career, posting seven seasons of 100-plus PIMs. The Islanders sent Boulton the offer at the start of the free agent signing period on July 1, and the Halifax, NS native jumped at the opportunity right away, agreeing to the deal on Sunday and officially signing on Monday.

“I think we have a bright future here with all of the young talent we have,” Boulton said. “Playing against the Islanders last year (with New Jersey), they competed hard and they gave us a hard time. They were very competitive. I know this is a promising young team and it’s on the up and up.”

Never afraid to drop the gloves, Boulton racked up 115 penalty minutes in 51 games with New Jersey last season, but was held off the score sheet all season, and found himself out of the lineup during the Devils run to the Stanley Cup Finals. Although he is relied upon for skills other than scoring, the Halifax, NS native was not happy with his performance, and wants to get back on track.

I was coming off a rough season in New Jersey,” Boulton said. “The team was successful but personally I had kind of an off year, so my goal is just to re-establish myself and prove that I can play and contribute and bring that physical element to the game.”

A player who has typically played the wing on teams’ third or fourth lines, Boulton measures his success by his defensive play and the overall success of the team.

“I’m not a big goals and stats guy,” Boulton said. “I judge my game on just being good defensively, doing my job and helping my team win. If you win in this league it means everyone’s doing their job.”

On and off the ice, the 35-year-old is looking forward to his role as an elder statesman on a young Islanders roster.

I think on a young team it’s definitely important having the veteran leadership that I hope to bring,” Boulton said. “It’s important to take care of the young guys on and off the ice and make sure they can play their game, and just be out there to protect them and bring that physical element to the team.”

Boulton is also eager to experience the other side of the Islanders-Devils rivalry, having already enjoyed the intense atmosphere unique to games in the New York area.

I got the taste of the rivalry,” Boulton said. “The Islanders, Rangers, Devils – it’s a lot of fun. It’s nice to play against your old team; you get a little extra bit of motivation. They’re always heated games with those three teams so I’m looking forward to it.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 46 21 24 -2 45
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 46 8 25 16 33
B. Nelson 46 15 15 6 30
F. Nielsen 46 9 16 4 25
J. Boychuk 36 4 18 15 22
J. Bailey 34 8 13 8 21
N. Leddy 46 7 14 15 21
N. Kulemin 46 11 9 1 20
A. Lee 40 13 5 7 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 25 9 0 .910 2.41
C. Johnson 6 5 0 .870 3.38

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