Monday, February 28, 2011

Brad Boyes traded to Buffalo

Blues continue to shuffle deck, deal
winger to Sabres for 2011 second-round pick

ST. LOUIS -- The Blues continue to reshuffle their roster, the latest move announced late Sunday night when they traded winger Brad Boyes to the Buffalo Sabres for a second-round pick in 2011.

"I heard about it initially ... I'm excited," Boyes told KMOX's Chris Kerber. "It's going to be a lot of fun, the way (Buffalo plays), the coach (Lindy Ruff) has been there for a long time. That part I'm looking forward to.

"But coming in the lobby (in Calgary), guys are waiting around ... that gets real tough. The hardest thing is saying bye to them. A lot of them have been here since I've been here or shortly after I got here. ... You bond with a lot of them. This is one of the best group of guys I've been a part of."

The announcement came after the Blues' 1-0 loss in Calgary, a game in which Boyes thought he had scored the tying goal with roughly three minutes remaining, only to have it wiped out by the puck being touched with a high stick.

"When we got a call on Brad, I looked at our roster today and also looked at it moving forward," Armstrong said. "With the addition of (Chris) Stewart and knowing (David) Perron is coming back at some point (from a concussion), it was necessary to make the move now while it was available.

"You just have to manage your assets. With Stewart, Perron and T.J. Oshie (on the right side), we had to create space. We had too many right wingers."

In other words, Armstrong must feel like the Blues (28-25-9) will get Perron back sooner rather than later, or else he wouldn't part with a top-six forward.

Boyes, 28, has 12 goals and 41 points in 61 games this season and was in the third year of a four-year, $16 million contract signed during the 2007-08 season. The team will save approximately $975,000 this season and another $4 million owed for the final year remaining on the deal.

The Blues' payroll is at $44.4 million, or roughly $1 million from the salary cap floor. The salary cap ceiling is $59.4.

In five seasons with the Blues, Boyes played 327 games -- he did not miss a game -- and had 106 goals and 232 points.

"... this was a hockey decision based on personnel that we had," Armstrong said, admitting the cost efficiency.

Boyes obviously hasn't been the same player after scoring 76 goals (43 in the 2007-08 season) in back-to-back seasons. He went from 43 goals in '07-08 to 33 goals in '08-09 and dropped all the way down to 14 last season.

"That was definitely what I wanted to get back to," Boyes said regarding the 43- and 33-goal seasons. "We had some injuries this season and it was tough. The style that we played is not the style you can put up a lot of points. We were a good defensive team. It's not good or bad, it's just what it was.

"I tried to create as much as I could. I would have loved to score more. If I did, maybe I'd still be in St. Louis. But I love where I'm going, and I'm looking forward to it. I'm not necessarily surprised (by the trade). But it's tough leaving the guys. The organization was great, everybody was awesome. It's some of the best years I've had in my career. Unfortunately, I didn't get where I wanted to, and the team didn't get where we wanted to. But I don't have a bad word for Doug Armstrong or the organization."

The NHL trade deadline is set for 2 p.m. (central time) this afternoon and the Blues have now acquired two second-round picks (they picked one up for either this summer or the summer of 2012 in the Colorado trade a week ago), plus they will also have two third-round picks after getting Tampa Bay's third rounder in the Eric Brewer trade. The Blues could have a first-round pick this summer, depending on if they give it up to Colorado or give the Avalanche their first-round pick in 2012.

The Blues could be dealing some more later today, they could be dealing at the draft or they will have an abundance of new draft choices come this summer.

"Part of getting these draft picks is that it gives us good options to move draft picks for NHL players," Armstrong said. "The potential allows us to maybe do some of that (today).

"Now we have picks in play that we didn't have. There's not a 100 guarantee we will use these picks at the draft."

The Sabres, who are two points out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference race, will have a top three on right wing with Drew Stafford, Jason Pominville and Boyes.

"He was one of a few players that we've talked about," Sabres GM Darcy Regier told the Buffalo News. "We were looking for someone that could contribute for the balance of this season and a minimum next season, and given the marketplace at the deadline, he was one of the guys we were looking at.

"It's not just the goals. I certainly think the goals were there and they've dropped off, but it's also his ability to make plays, his ability to play in and around the net. He's got very good hands. He sees the ice well, can make plays, and I think that's probably the shift you see in him statistically this year ... from more goals on one end to setting the goals up on the other side. We'll be happy to take whether he's scoring the goals or contributing on the offense of someone else scoring the goals. Either one works fine."

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