Isles benefit from Boychuk's improvement

Johnny Boychuk is getting more ice time -- and more responsibility -- with the Islanders. Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

The theory among scouts and executives regarding Nick Leddy was that once the talented 23-year-old defenseman escaped the depths of the Chicago Blackhawks' lineup, he would blossom in a bigger role. It’s one of the reasons New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow was almost universally praised for adding the strong-skating Leddy to his young group.

You didn’t necessarily hear that about Johnny Boychuk -- another addition Snow made. Instead, he was hailed as the veteran defenseman who was going to bring championship experience to the young Islanders.

Really, the two weren’t all that far off experience-wise. Boychuk had played 317 games for the Boston Bruins, compared to Leddy’s 258 for the Blackhawks. But Boychuk, it appears, had more untapped potential than people realized.

His return to Boston provided some cool moments in Thursday's game --