The Sabres acquired for Blues forward Brad Boyes late Sunday evening for a 2nd round pick in next year's draft. The move has garnered quite a bit of attention in both markets involved. It's obvious the Sabres were in need of a top 6 forward who can score, skate hard, and check harder. Boyes can backcheck and forecheck with the best of them. He skates with intensity that I haven't seen in a Sabres uniform in quite a while. In 2006-2007 and 2007-08 he had 43 and 33 goals respectively. So he can score too. Yet, I've heard mixed reviews regarding this deal. I think it's time for me to weigh in on the topic.
Some people say he is not the scorer he once was, as he has had less than 20 goals in the three seasons following his 33 goal campaign. I will attribute this opinion to a couple factors. First, Boyes has been on a less than stellar St. Louis squad for the majority of his career. Perhaps he had grown tired of losing, or was unable to produce as much due to a lack of talent around him. This is the most likely scenario.
Secondly, a return to his 06-08 form is a likely possibility due to his change in scenery. New Sabres owner Terry Pegula has brought in a winning mentality that starts at the top of the organization. This can only benefit Boyes, who will be used to Pegula unlike current Sabres who are used to the ownership of Tom Golisano, an owner more interested in profit margins than the win column. Also, Boyes will most likely find himself as the right winger on a line with Thomas Vanek at LW and Tim Connolly at C. This can only help his production in the long run, as well as the production of the two aforementioned forwards.
That being said, I'm obviously in support of the Boyes move. Buffalo didn't give much up for him, and he will be an asset to the first line. However, I'm rather shocked that the Sabres did not go after any D-men or try and move Tim Connolly or Jochen Hecht. Both 19 and 55 have value, and for a while, it looked like the Kings were very interested in Connolly. I'm almost glad that Buffalo did not move him, as he will almost certainly experience increased production on a line with Vanek and Boyes, two former 40 goal scorers. That does not explain the Sabres' lack of defensive ability though.
This trade deadline was chock full of quality D-men. Phillips, Kaberle, Campoli, Jackman and Wideman are just a few of the names that were on the block for weeks. Could GM Darcy Regier not get a deal done? Who knows. But one thing is for sure...the Sabres still have holes on the blue line, and that could spell trouble come May.
Speaking of May, the Sabres may have done enough to ensure they will get to the playoffs this year by adding Boyes. What is unsure though, is if they will go anywhere if and when they make the playoffs. Can the revamped first line score like they have individually shown in the past? If so, the Sabres could be a tough out in the postseason. As Sabres fans, we can only wait and see the results of this year's deadline addition.