Sabres Active on Trade Deadline Day
By Steven Zapel
The new ownership has already had a positive effect on the Buffalo Sabres. With the trade deadline come and past, the Sabres’ front office is already reflecting the personality of their new owner: Terry Pegula. In the past, the Sabres have been a very complacent and inactive team around the trade deadline. After only six days on the job, Pegula made the Sabres a relevant team on trade deadline day, establishing his desire to improve the team and win a Stanley Cup.
Around midnight on the 28th the Sabres completed a deal with the St. Louis Blues that sent forward Brad Boyes to the Sabres in exchange for a second round pick in the 2011 NHL draft. This move represents a change in the philosophy towards achieving success held by the Sabres front office.
Boyes is a former first round draft pick in 2000 by Toronto, and has six years' experience playing in the NHL, with 05-06 being his first full season. Boyes is 28 years old and has scored 41 points (12 goals and 29 assists) for the Blues this season. Coming to Buffalo with 41 points makes him the Sabres second highest point scorer this season behind Thomas Vanek.
Boyes had his best seasons to date in 05-06 and 08-09 scoring a respective 69 and 72 points in those seasons. His career high in goals is 43 achieved during the 07-08 season, and 43 assists in the 05-06 season.
Boyes is coming from a St. Louis club that has been at the bottom of the league during his years there, and Boyes has only participated in the playoffs once during his career. The Sabres are hoping that being on a more consistently competitive team and being surrounded by more talented players will bring out the best in Boyes. Hopefully this allows him to become a dependable 30-plus goal scorer per season.
While the Boyes trade shows new signs of life within the Sabres front office, many fans wanted more. The Sabres are in need of toughness and a reliable veteran presence on the blue line. Many fans and experts wanted the Sabres to make a deal for a player like forward Jason Arnott (who went to Washington) to add toughness and grit to the team. Others wanted them to acquire a player like defenseman John Michael Liles who was actively being shopped by the Colorado Avalanche and could have provided veteran presence on the blue line, but ultimately went untraded.
Pegula has stated that although he wanted to improve his team for a push towards the playoffs this season, he was not willing to sacrifice his larger goal of bringing the Stanley Cup back to Buffalo within the next 3 years. Pegula was not willing to trade his team’s young developmental players to bring in a rental player, which would be a free agent at the end of this season and could leave the team.
Pegula feels the Sabres already have a good foundation laid for the future and did not want to break that up to take a chance this year. Acquiring a star rental player to make a playoff run this season would requires giving up several of the Sabres young players, which would set his team back several years in development.
For now Sabres fans are going to have to be happy with Boyes and the understanding that Pegula has a plan he’s going to follow, which he believes will bring the Stanley Cup here to Buffalo.