While it’s certainly Linsanity in New York currently, its Nashmania around the NHL as rumors are rampant about where Columbus Blue Jackets‘ captain and franchise player Rick Nash may or may not end up on the Feb 27 trade deadline this year. The 27-year-old scorer would be a welcomed addition to any team looking to boost its offense, including the Rangers. However, it would be beating a dead horse to elaborate on whether or not the Blueshirts can acquire Nash and his $7.8 million cap-hit without yielding any NHL players or elite prospects.
As Adam Herman eluded to in his article yesterday, the star player/blockbuster deals aren’t always the ones that occur at the deadline: it’s the low-cost, complimentary (plan b, c or even d if you will) moves that often happen and benefit the club. For the Rangers, it’s the route they should follow and most likely will follow. Who is only player that fits that mold? Brad Boyes of the Buffalo Sabres.
Reasons why Boyes could be an under-the-radar move the Rangers execute on Feb 27 after the jump.
Several days ago, Pat Leonard of the NY Daily News wrote an article listing four potential names the Rangers could target at the deadline. Keep in mind this was before the Rick Nash rumors surfaced and enveloped the NHL. Aside from mentioning Boyes’ name, Leonard listed Ray Whitney, Hall Gill, and Pavel Kubina — all low-cost, low-key additions for a contending team. Here’s the excerpt on Boyes from the article:
BRAD BOYES, RW, SABRES
Buffalo has turned it on lately, but in a division with the Bruins, Senators and Maple Leafs it’ll be tough for the Sabres to overcome their early woes. Boyes, who becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, has not worked out in Buffalo. But he showed he could score before that in St. Louis, with 76 goals combined from 2007-09. Boyes ($4M) may come on the cheap as well, since he has just three goals and 10 assists in 41 games on an all-around disappointing club.
The first thing you notice is Boyes is listed as a RW and the Rangers are looking to add depth at LW. Boyes has played other forward positions in his career and wouldn’t be an issue. The Rangers prefer to have players that can be versatile as it gives coach Tortorella the option of moving players around the lineup.
At 29, Boyes’ best days may already be behind him. In two seasons, from 2007-2009, Boyes notched 43 and 33 goals, respectively, while playing with the St. Louis Blues. Since then, the highest goal total for Boyes was 12. Since being traded to the Buffalo Sabres last season, Boyes has tallied eight goals, 19 assists in 62 games played. Along with the Sabres being 14th in the Eastern Conference and mired in a terrible season, Boyes missed 13 games with a knee injury.
Why would the Rangers be interested in Boyes? He wouldn’t cost more than a draft pick to acquire. His $4 million cap-hit comes off the books this summer as a UFA and the Rangers would be banking that a change of scenery, including a chance to play in the playoffs, would reinvigorate Boyes’ season. Additionally, Boyes has shown the ability to score goals at the NHL level and playing with players such as Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, Derek Stepan etc. could tap into that ability once again.
Obviously, this isn’t the marquee move a team contending for a title does to improve itself at the trade deadline. Brad Boyes may be at the bottom of the list of moves the Rangers would like to make in the next week and a half. However, when all other options are exhausted, these are the types of moves GM’s consider making. It’s a low-risk, potentially medium-reward transaction that doesn’t hamper you long-term.