Free Agent Friday: Brad Boyes

Timothy T. Ludwig-US PRESSWIRE

This weekly series will feature (one or more) players eligible to become free agents from the Buffalo Sabres organization as of July 1, 2012. The eighteen players in the organization may become an unrestricted (eleven) or a restricted free agent (seven) depending on age and years of NHL experience.

Brad Boyes | Right Wing | 30 years old | 2011-12 Salary: $4,000,000

Allow me to start this off with a song: “Brad Boyes, Brad Boyes, what ya gonna do, what ya gonna do when free agency comes for you, Brad Boyes, Brad Boyes?”

Silly? Yes. But true, because as July 1st approaches, Brad Boyes is one of several to-be free agents in the Buffalo Sabres organization.

The Mississauga native’s performance in his first full season with the blue and gold was not stellar. In 65 games played, he scored just eight goals and 15 assists, ending the season with a plus-2 rating.

Although eight goals might not seem bad, take into account that two of those were scored in the final game of the season, and Boyes went long periods of time without tallying much of anything.

As such, it wasn’t much of a surprise when Lindy Ruff decided to make Boyes a healthy scratch in both the April 3rd game against Toronto and the April 5th game against Philadelphia.

The injury front wasn’t too great for Boyes this season, either. He missed thirteen games with a lower body injury from November 25 until December 22, and proceeded to miss two games at the end of February with an upper body injury – an all-too-familiar tale for the injury-plagued Sabres this year.

Boyes, a former captain of the OHL’s Erie Otters, joined the Sabres on February 27, 2011 via trade and started his stint with Buffalo on a good front, scoring in both of his first two games.

In 21 games that season, he had fourteen points (5-9). Combined with the 41 points he had scored as a member of the Blues organization in the first part of the season, he appeared to be a great addition to the team.

His numbers, however, haven’t particularly reflected that. And now with July 1st approaching, the Sabres have to answer the important question of whether or not to give him another chance, or leave free agency to pick him up.

There’s no doubt that Boyes can be a successful player. His statistical numbers in four years with the Otters – including a championship – were definitely impressive. In 144 games with the Boston Bruins over the course of two years, he had 64 points, and it was much of the same in St. Louis. Over parts of five seasons, he played 327 games and tallied 126 points.

The potential is there, but the chemistry just hasn’t matched up in Buffalo – at least not yet.

With the up-and-comers like Corey Tropp and Marcus Foligno, is there room on the Sabres’ bench next year for Boyes, or will free agency squeeze him out, allowing him to possibly find success elsewhere?

Well: what do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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