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Boyes ready for new beginning with Panthers

Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 3:48 PM

By Alain Poupart - NHL.com Correspondent / Training Camp 2013 blog

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Training Camp 2013 blog
Boyes ready for new beginning with Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Veteran forward Brad Boyes arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Wednesday, on the eve of the Florida Panthers' first training camp practice.

He's hoping his stay is an extended one and the Panthers turn his professional tryout into a contract.

"I am looking forward to it," Boyes said. "The opportunity should be there, so that will be exciting. I know a few guys on the team, guys I've played with before, so I'm looking forward to that too. It's something that for me it's an opportunity and I want to make the most of it."

Boyes, who turned 31 in April, played last season with the New York Islanders, but remains unsigned as an unrestricted free agent. He said the Islanders offered him the opportunity to attend their training camp as a tryout player, but he didn't want to go that route. Boyes also said he had a couple of other tryout offers.

"It's very different," he said. "It's the first time that I've had to do that. I was looking back, even in junior, you get drafted and you kind of sign a deal and when you're younger, you have that contract before you even kind of start. This is new to me. It's a different mindset. It's something that I've definitely got to go out there and earn. Nothing is given to me."

Boyes said the lower salary cap in place for the 2013-14 season likely played a role in him not being able to get a contract. He had a resurgence last season with the Islanders playing on a line in New York with John Tavares, totaling 35 points in 48 games after he had 23 points in 65 games with the Buffalo Sabres in 2011-12.

Boyes, who had seasons of 43 and 33 goals with the St. Louis Blues in 2007-08 and 2008-09, certainly could help a Panthers team that finished last in goals in the NHL last season. General manager Dale Tallon also indicated the one position on the roster where the team could use more depth was right wing, where Boyes plays.

"He scores goals," Tallon said. "He's smart, he's a cerebral player. He's a really smart, very intelligent player. He scored 43 goals in the NHL and he had a good year last year. Obviously we need to score more goals and obviously we need to stop more goals. All we can do to improve those two aspects of the game will give us a better chance of making the playoffs."

For Boyes, the Panthers tryout represents an opportunity to build on what he did last season. He hasn't scored more than 17 goals in a season since his 33-goal season in 2008-09, but he's confident he could reach the 20-goal plateau this season if given the chance.

"I plan on it," he said. "At least [that many].

"The goal scoring is one thing that definitely needs to get back. Shooting the puck a little more, that's something [that comes] with confidence. Even last year, I had a few, but I could have shot the puck more and [was] looking to pass a little bit much. Now it's more of a shooting mentally for me hopefully."

Quote of the Day

I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie