Sabres hope former Blues forward Boyes adds offensive punch

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Terry Pegula's influence and deep pockets as the Buffalo Sabres new owner quickly paid off for the team at the NHL's trading deadline.

With Pegula's blessing, the Sabres added forward Brad Boyes -- and what's left of the player's hefty salary -- to a lineup in need of offensive punch in a bid to make one final push for the playoffs.

"This is a new era of ownership," general manager Darcy Regier said Monday, a day after acquiring Boyes in a trade with the St. Louis Blues. "The parameters are different. I think what Terry has done is open up an area that we haven't had the ability to go to before. And that's positive."

Regier was referring to how, in the past, he lacked the flexibility to add a high-priced player such as Boyes. In exchange for a second-round draft pick, the Sabres landed a two-time 30-goal-scorer, while also picking up what's left of Boyes' $4.5 million salary this season, plus the $4 million he's to make next year.

His addition ups the Sabres payroll to about $56 million, about $3.5 million under the NHL salary cap.

The trade was completed late Sunday night, and less than a week after Pegula, a Pennsylvania billionaire and longtime Sabres fan, closed on his $189 million purchase of the franchise. Regier said Pegula was on hand during trade talks for much of the weekend leading up to Monday's deadline.

Boyes joins the Sabres, who sit two points behind Carolina in the race for the Eastern Conference's eighth and final playoff spot. Buffalo (29-25-7) also prepares to embark on a seven-game road trip that opens at the New York Rangers today.

"For us to be able to add someone who is going to contribute offensively ... it's important," Regier said. "It's an important message to send to the players."

Boyes traveled to Buffalo from Calgary, where he played in the Blues' 1-0 loss Sunday night. Boyes was scheduled to join the Sabres in New York after completing his physical.

The 28-year-old has 12 goals and 29 assists in 62 games this season. His 41 points put him second on the Sabres' list this season, behind Thomas Vanek's 52.

Boyes, selected in the first round of the 2000 draft by Toronto, is a six-year NHL veteran who has spent the past four seasons in St. Louis.

He enjoyed his best stretch during a two-year span from 2007 to 2009 with the Blues, when he combined for 77 goals and 137 points in 164 games. Boyes' production has fallen off over the past two seasons, during which he has 16 goals and 83 points in 144 games.

"I would have loved to score more. If I did, maybe I'd still be in St. Louis," Boyes said. "But I love where I'm going. I'm looking forward to it."

The Blues are in rebuilding mode, sitting in 13th in the West. This marks their third significant trade over the past two weeks.

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