Gulls A-Z Player Profiles: Kevin BoyleJul 22, 2019
Goaltender Kevin Boyle set multiple club records and personal career bests after he earned a 24-13-2 record with a 2.90 GAA and .907 SV% in 43 games in 2018-19. In his third season with the Ducks organization, Boyle set AHL career highs in wins, games played, saves (1,109) and minutes (2,362).
The beginning of the 2018-19 season had Boyle split time in net with Jared Coreau. However, Boyle began to take over the job as the full time starter in December after consistently strong play. Beginning with a 4-3 shootout win over the San Jose Barracuda on Dec. 15, Boyle strung together 10 consecutive wins that concluded with a 5-2 victory at Milwaukee Jan. 12. His club record and career best 10-game win streak saw him total a 2.19 GAA and .923 SV%.
His impressive run in net earned him a spot in the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield. His appearance marked the first time a San Diego netminder had represented the Gulls in an AHL All-Star Weekend.
“It’s just great to see Kevin really get his feet underneath him. I know he’s still trying to get better each and every day which is excellent,” said former Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins. “This is a young man that has put a lot of effort into his development and here we are now and it looks like he’s really breaking out.”
A combination of Boyle’s strong play with San Diego and injuries sustained to Anaheim’s goaltenders resulted in a call-up to the big leagues. Boyle was recalled to the Ducks on February 9 after ranking second in the AHL in wins with a 19-7-1-0 record, .909 SV% and 2.72 goals-against average GAA over the span of 30 games with the Gulls. Ducks goaltender John Gibson suffered an injury just two days prior and backup Ryan Miller had been sidelined since mid-December with a lower body injury.
Boyle appeared in his first career NHL game at Philadelphia, Feb. 9 when he relieved Chad Johnson following the first period on the same night as his recall. Four days later, Boyle got the nod for his first career start in the NHL Feb. 13 against Vancouver. Three periods and 35 saves later, Boyle became the first goaltender age 26-or-older to record a shutout in his first NHL start since 1986 (Sam St. Laurent, NJ). Boyle also joined John Gibson as the only Ducks player to accomplish that feat in club history.
The Manalapan, N.J. native played three more games with Anaheim, posting a 1-3 record and a .928 save percentage before returning to San Diego to close out the regular season. In his first postseason in the AHL, Boyle helped guide the team to their first-ever Western Conference Finals appearance where he had a 29-save shutout for a 3-0 win in Game 2 of the series.
Anaheim improved its goaltending depth during free agency in July with the addition of unrestricted free agent Anthony Stolarz following the re-signing of Ryan Miller in June. The Ducks have a number of notable goaltenders in their system headlined by Gibson, who enters the first of an eight-year contract. In addition, several players could become legitimate NHL-caliber netminders in the future, such as Olle Eriksson Ek and Lukas Dostal. Boyle is one of those players as evident by his stint in the NHL last season and competition within the system has boosted his performance before.