Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports
The Toronto Maple Leafs have hosted a low key reality show over the past couple of weeks called: “So you want to be flipped for a pick at the trade deadline?” The show wasn’t that thrilling and the ratings weren’t great, but it would appear that the club’s search for a lucky depth forward to sign for the purpose of flipping at the deadline is over.
On Sunday the club elected not to give a rose to Devin Setoguchi and Curtis Glencross, both of whom were cut. The lucky recipient of a rose from Lou Lamoriello, then, is forward Brad Boyes, who, as first reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Maple Leafs have signed to a one-year deal. The deal is worth $700k, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.
Boyes, 33, is a credible middle-six forward who has produced even-strength goals and points at a credible second-line rate over the past three seasons. Of the eight players with whom he’s spent at least 500 even-strength minutes since the most recent NHL lockout, seven of those players have done better by Corsi For percentage with Boyes than they did without him.
Training camp performance aside, essentially Boyes is a useful NHL player who, for whatever reason, is always overlooked in the free agent market. He’ll probably be a helpful piece for an overmatched Maple Leafs club, and if he performs well enough, could conceivably be part of a trade ahead of the NHL trade deadline that nets the Maple Leafs a much needed future asset.
We’ve discussed the Maple Leafs’ radical strategy of short selling veteran assets at the trade deadline a lot in recent weeks, and this deal would seem to be another step towards the execution of that program.
Though we tend to believe that the Maple Leafs are playing at a particular angle with this deal, that doesn’t diminish that Boyes deserves credit for his standout performance at training camp and in the preseason. It was very clear to anyone paying attention that Boyes was the best of the Maple Leafs’ class of PTO forwards, and he very much earned this contract.