Sabres At The Deadline: Brad Boyes


As we all know, since it’s been beaten to death and will continue to do so over the next seven days, the NHL trade deadline is fast approaching. Since the Sabres can’t seem to make up their minds as to whether they want to finish dead-last (well, maybe not. Columbus seems to have that locked up), or push for a playoff spot, no one, perhaps not even Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier, can know whether or not they’ll be sellers as we get nearer to February 27th.

Sabre Noise writer extraordinaire Jack Goods is looking more around the NHL regarding trade deadline scenarios and trades thus far, so, with that, this week I would like to take a look at possible (probable?) Sabres players that may find a new zip code by next week Monday. Today, we start with forward Brad Boyes.

Boyes, and his annual $4 million salary, was brought on board on the eve of last season’s trade deadline, and was to signal a shift in organizational thinking under new owner Terry Pegula. No more were there going to be financial restraints on the organization as a whole, and this was to be the start of a new approach going forward. Where before, any dollar going out would have to match any dollar coming in, Boyes’ trade was marking some new territory. The Sabres gave up a 2011 2nd round draft pick for Boyes’ services, and it was thought that the former 40-goal scorer would give the Sabres another legitimate scoring weapon.

That certainly hasn’t materialized.

Boyes who scored in his first two games as a Sabre, finished the remainder of the 2010-11 season with Buffalo by scoring five goals and adding nine assists for fourteen points in twenty-one games. He played mainly at center for coach Lindy Ruff‘s squad, mainly out of necessity, and was poised to return back to his natural right wing position heading into this season. He has bounced between center and wing all season with disappointing results. Boyes, who has missed thirteen games with injury this season, has a whopping three goals and ten points in 46 games.

Who’s going to want Boyes?

Good question. There can’t be many teams lining up for the services of a $4 million-a-year, offensive forward who only has three goals. Yes, any team looking to procure Boyes, who will become an unrestricted free-agent on July 1st, will only have to pay his salary for the remainder of the season (which averages out to around $1 million), and there is the off-chance that he could be placed in situations that will allow him to regain some of that scoring touch. Also, many players – after they’ve been traded – rekindle that fire, and thus go on a tear (except some of Regier’s deadline day acquisitions. See: Torres, Raffi; Moore, Dominic). Boyes, for all of his offensive woes this season, can work the wall on the power-play, and if he is allowed to set up in his usual spot in the left faceoff circle, can unleash that potent one-timer that we haven’t seen since last season. Heis usually money during the shootout, as well, scoring five times this season. It would help if he had some playmakers feeding him the puck, too.

What can the Sabres get for Boyes?

At this point, the Sabres would be wise to get whatever they can for this guy, as he really isn’t doing anyone any good playing on the fourth line, while not producing much of anything. Ruff does insert him on the power-play, but even there he really doesn’t contribute. I really can’t see any team looking to acquire him giving the Sabres much more than a mid-level draft choice, and they should take it and run. His roster spot would be much better suited for a Luke Adam or Marcus Foligno.

Who is looking at Boyes?

I have heard the Nashville Predators. The Preds are on the prowl for some offensive help, and I would imagine could get Boyes cheap. Boyes, I am positive, isn’t the only player on their radar though, and Nashville could probably have better offensively productive options instead, perhaps Edmonton‘s Ales Hemsky.

Chances of Boyes being moved?

If Regier can see the bigger picture, and can find a taker, there is no good reason why Boyes should be in Blue and Gold beyond February 27th.

And, don’t forget about the OptionIt contest. All you have to do is register for free, indicate the Sabres as your favorite team, and you are entered to win tickets to the Sabres/Maple Leafs game on April 3rd.

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