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Numbers Game: Sabres bring in Boyes from Blues

Scott Cullen
2/28/2011 12:52:07 AM
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New ownership in Buffalo seems to have brought about a change in approach, marked first by Sunday's trade for a pricy scoring winger.

Numbers Game looks at the Sabres' acquisition of Brad Boyes.

The Sabres Get: RW Brad Boyes.

Boyes, 28, has rebounded with a relatively productive 2010-2011 campaign after a down year in 2009-2010.  While it appears unlikely that he's ever going to touch 40 goals again, as he did in 2007-2008, Boyes has the offensive skills to be a contributor in the Sabres' top six forwards.

After a slow start to the season, in which he scored five points in 14 games, Boyes has come on with 36 points in the next 47 games to sit tied for third on the Blues with 41 points in 61 games; his plus-11 rating ranked second on the club.

The Sabres, missing top centre Derek Roy for the rest of the campaign and already having Drew Stafford and Jason Pominville set as scoring right wingers, may be more inclined to try Boyes at centre, a position that he's played at times throughout his six-year NHL career, taking at least 200 faceoffs a season each year that he's been in the league (135 so far this season).

If Boyes is going to recapture his goal-scoring touch (he scored 76 goals in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009), then this deal could really pay off for the Sabres, but it's difficult to foresee that, given that Boyes has 26 goals in 143 games since, taking fewer shots and finishing at about half the rate he did during his peak goal-scoring years.

Signed through next season, at a salary cap hit of $4-million (per www.capgeek.com), Boyes isn't cheap, but the fact that the Sabres are willing to go out and acquire him is a clear indication that new Sabres owner Terry Pegula is living up to his promise of taking the financial shackles off Sabres GM Darcy Regier.

Buffalo is two points out of eighth place in the East, yet have two games in hand on the eighth-place Hurricanes, who could be ripe for the picking as they are faced with the prospect of star centre Eric Staal missing time if his "upper body" injury turns out to be a concussion.

So, the Sabres are making a push for the playoffs and the addition of a veteran scoring forward who is very durable -- having missed one game in six seasons -- scoring at least 65 points in three seasons seems like an entirely reasonable way to go about it. 

Boyes isn't going to turn the Sabres upside down, but he's very likely to enhance their offensive production and that's what he'll be expected to bring to his new team.

The Blues Get: A second-round draft pick.

After recently acquiring Chris Stewart from Colorado, the Blues didn't have as much need for Boyes' services and the prospect of shedding next year's $4-million salary made it an easy move to make considering the Blues' position.

With four losses in their last five games, the Blues are now seven points out of a playoff spot and, having already dealt defencemen Eric Brewer and Erik Johnson, it's appearing less and less likely that the Blues can mount a charge for a spot in the postseason.

Since the Blues have more promising young players like T. J. Oshie, Patrik Berglund and Roman Polak hitting restricted free agency this summer, the money that was ticketed for Boyes (at least next season) can be used to help lock up these players with long-term contracts.

Additionally, adding a pick that figures to be in the middle of the second round helps re-stock the shelves, somewhat offsetting the impact of dealing a first-round pick to Colorado in the deal for Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk.

Buffalo makes a solid move, getting a proven performer that should improve their chances of reaching the playoffs this season, while the Blues shed a player who, while reasonably productive, had a contract that wasn't exactly a bargain, giving them greater financial flexibility going forward; in both cases, a logical approach given each team's circumstances.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@ctv.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen.  For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

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