It’s difficult to say how much interest there is in Brad Boyes around the league. On the one hand, he’s 33 years old, is averaging just 11:46 per game on a bad Leafs team, and has a modest 16 points in 42 games this year. On the other hand, he’s someone who leads the team in P/60 and had 38 points just last season, indicating there might be a more productive player hidden behind the scarce ice-time. Other things Boyes has going for him are that he makes just $700k on an expiring contract, and that he’s a proven NHL veteran.
Conclusion: he’s not going to be near the top of any NHL team’s trade-for list, but he’s someone who at least some teams are likely considering to varying extents.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the five likeliest teams to go after Boyes as we approach the trade deadline in two week’s time.
They’re the highest-scoring team in the entire NHL, but they could still use some scoring depth. The likes of Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Kusnetsov are carrying the load for the team, with the likes of T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams playing good supporting roles. But the further you go down their lineup, the more thin their roster seems. Washington probably isn’t desperate to add more forwards to their team, but given the fact that they’re also sitting first in the league in points right now, it’s definitely a “go for it” year for the Caps. With that in mind, they’ll likely try to add as much depth as they can to their team, regardless of position. Boyes could fit the bill as a depth forward for them.
Potential Trade Pieces: Stanislav Galiev, 2016 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th round picks, 2017 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th round picks
Potential Salary Dumps: Brooks Laich
We may as well call this team the Capitals of the
West. They’re right near the top of the league both in terms of
goal-scoring production as well as in the overall standings. They’re
carried by their stars (no pun intended) up front, in this case Jamie
Benn and Tyler Seguin. They even have some strong supporting pieces in
guys like Jason Spezza and Patrick Sharp.
But like Washington,
Dallas could stand to add a little bit of depth to a relatively thin
bottom-six forward group. Why not add another veteran forward, perhaps
one with a little bit more skill, to a group that includes the likes of
Travis Moen, Vernon Fiddler, and Patrick Eaves?
Pieces: Radek Faksa, Matej Stransky, Ludwig Bystrom, 2016 4th, 5th, or 6th round picks, 2017 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th round
Potential Salary Dumps: Travis Moen
Florida’ finally come of age this season, and now that they sit 2nd in the Eastern Conference standings, they’ll likely be looking to add at least a little bit of depth at the trade deadline.
They’re still young though, and Dale Tallon is likely aware of the fact that as good as they’ve been this season, this probably isn’t going to be their year. With a fairly sturdy top-six up front and top-four on defense, adding some small depth pieces on the cheap seems like a logical direction for the Panthers to take this February – regardless of position. That’s where a guy like Boyes comes in.
Two other factors here: one, Boyes’ $700k cap hit and salary might make him a bit more appealing to a team with an internal budget like Florida. The other important factor here is that Boyes spent each of the last two seasons in Florida, putting up 36 points in 13/14 and 38 points in 14/15. True, they let him walk via free agency, but Boyes was a solid player for them when he was there, and there’s some familiarity as well.
Potential Trade Pieces: Jonathan Racine, Garrett Wilson, 2016 4th, 5th, or 6th round picks, 2017 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th round picks
Potential Salary Dumps: Marc Savard
SAN JOSE SHARKS
They’re not as god as Washington, Dallas, or Florida, but the Sharks are high enough in the standings that they’re expected to be buyers at the deadline. That’s helped along by the fact that they have a real veteran roster with guys like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau in the proverbial twilight of their respective careers. The Sharks aren’t starving for depth up front like Washington or Dallas, but they could have some use for a guy like Boyes to help round out their group. The Sharks have a modest amount of cap space as well, and a strong blueline to boot. That leaves them with the option of pursuing, really, whomever they want. Boyes wouldn’t be at the top of their list but I can see them having at least some interest.
Potential Trade Pieces: Julius Bergman, Noah Rod, 2016 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th round picks, 2017 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th round pick
Potential Salary Dumps: Mike Brown
LOS ANGELES KINGS
The Kings are tight for cap space and reportedly more interested in adding to their blueline, but Boyes comes cheap for a team that could stand to add some depth to their bottom-six. In other words, he seems like someone they might circle back to as the deadline approaches and options start to dry up. Keep in mind too that Dean Lombardi is a forward-thinking GM and the Kings are once again the league’s top team in terms of good ole Corsi. Brad Boyes is a strong player in terms of underlying numbers, so if any team is going to be cognizant of the value held in a guy like Brad Boyes, it’s probably the Kings.
Potential Trade Pieces: Spencer Watson, Austin Wagner, Matt Mistele, Alexander Dergachyov, Damir Sharipzyanov, 2016 4th, 5th, or 7th round picks, 2017 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th round picks
Potential Salary Dumps: Dwight King, Kyle Clifford, Luke Schenn