Sabres fans are waking up today to the news that Darcy Regier has begun to spend some of those hot Pegula bucks.
Brad Boyes was purchased overnight from the St. Louis Blues for a 2nd round draft pick. Boyes, 28, can play right wing or center, and comes under contract until the end of the 2011-12 season, at $4mil per year.
4 million dollars!?
This is definitely Pegula’s Sabres, now. That $4 mil salary is what prompted the Blues to finally part ways with their enigmatic winger, who once scored 44 goals in 2007-08, but has since seen his ice time and production plummet. A change of scenery can do wonders for a player like this sometimes, so in lieu of that fact, here’s what the two blog scenes are saying about this trade today.
From St. Louis:
“Brad Boyes has gotten a pretty bad rap for himself in St. Louis in recent years, failing to recapture the magic of his 43-goal season in 2007-08. Since then, Boyes has scored 33 goals in 2008-09 before plummeting to 14 last year. So far in 2010-11, Boyes continued to miss the net with his shots as evidenced by his 12 goals through 61 games. To be fair, Boyes was playing better as the season wore on, contributing some nifty passes and helping creating offense more through his skating and dishing of the puck than his shooting.”
“While his 12 goals this year will surely put him ahead of last year’s total, it had become clear that Boyes has struggled to regain his scoring form of just a couple seasons ago. Clearly the Sabres hope that a change of scenery will spark another offensive outburst from the center-turned-winger, much as it did when he was acquired from Boston back in 2006-07.
The trade puts the Blues even closer to the CBA-mandated salary floor and likely signals an increase in ice time for a player like Philip McRae, who is supposed to be a scorer but has had a hard time cracking into the Blues’ top lines since his latest recall from Peoria.”
“Blues fans’ writing about Boyes seem to echo those of Sabres fans on Jason Pominville. “Overpaid” and “erratic shooting” are thrown around. Fact is, I’d take most teams’ Pominville in a second. He’s a defensively-responsible player who holds his own in every area of the rink.
Finally, it’s not like this trade is a risk in any other way than financially, as Boyes makes $4.0 million next season. Plus, the Sabres may lose the same figure in Tim Connolly before the deadline, and almost certainly after the season.”
“His production is slightly below average playing on a Blues team that can probably best be described as slightly below average. His TOI has dwindled in recent years (going from around 18-19 minutes in 07-09 when he notched 43 and 33 goals to 16-17 minutes from 2010 to present) which can probably be attributed to the massive logjam that St. Louis has at the center position. (NHL.com lists 12 centers that have seen icetime, and another 10 wingers that have played center at one time or another.)”
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” wrote Charles Dickens in his classic “A Tale of Two Cities, “…it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…”
Dickens is always so spot on. Little did he know that his sagacious writing would be someday used to analyze hockey.
But frankly, that is what we have here – two different cities, and two different sets of hopes and opinions on what lies in store for Boyes.
Fans of the blues will celebrate cap relief, and the unloading of a character off their roster that they grew to embrace, before becoming impatient with him. A log jam of young forwards will now have the space to make it into the Blues roster, and gain the ice time they need to flourish.
Fans of the Sabres will rejoice in the simple fact that Pegula’s promise of wealth and riches is actually coming to fruition. While the Sabres take on a $4 million dollar contract, they also take on a player who is on contract beyond this season – not a rental – and whose production, even in slumps, puts him in the top six of the Blue and Gold.
His positional diversity is a great boon, as the Sabres already have Pominville and Stafford on the right wing. Boyes can easily slide into the center position, where he has posted a reasonable 42.9% success rate on the faceoff dot this season. He will contribute to the power play, to the playoff push, and to the future.
Despite what Blues fans will tell you, he has posted a career shot percentage of .127, which would be good enough for 4th place on the Sabres’ stat sheet this season, ranking him only behind Paul Byron, Drew Stafford, and Thomas Vanek. He has a very impressive +/- value of +11, which is good enough for 3rd best on the Sabres, and #1 overall amongst forwards.
Boyes has yet to play a game with his new teammates, but his diversity and statistics upon arrival tell us that he will arrive in a very, very comfortable position to succeed.
All that, for a 2nd round pick. Comparatively, Mike Fisher was traded for a 1st and a conditional 2nd/3rd, and Kris Versteeg was had for a 1st and a 3rd. Neither player has ever posted the numbers Boyes has, and neither has the versatility that Boyes has. Regier definitely landed Boyes for under the crazed market value of deadline day.
It’s a great move by Regier, and affirms the promises made by Pegula on his Day One Presser. “It’s pedal to the metal,” said Pegula on that day, and that starts now with Boyes. Today, in the city of Buffalo, there will be much rejoicing.