And now, the riskier guys.
- Buffalo Sabres Right Wing
- 29 years old
- Making $4 million ($4 million cap hit), UFA after 2012
- Scoring forward (as of 2009)
- Power forward, but needs something to get him motivated
Brad Boyes was brought in right after Terry Pegula saved the Sabres and injected funds into their roster. Boyes scored 33 goals during the 2008-09 campaign, but has scored just 34 goals since then. It’s puzzling to see his career take this turn, and absolutely withering in Buffalo. If he is nothing else at the present, he is durable. He’s missed all of 13 games since 2005, all of them this year.
Buffalo has to be the biggest disappointment this side of Corey Crawford’s ability to stop a puck (or Tampa’s ability to find a goaltender). Their record is terrible and reflecting that of a team that’s been circling the drain all year. Boyes is the most expendable of their crop of forwards that include Derrick Roy, Jason Pominville, and other talented players. Boyes will not be brought back, unless he becomes Sam Gagner.
The Catch: He’s been very below average forward in the top 6 mold since 2009. Before then, he lit up the league in his first four years scoring 26, 17 (traded that year), 43, and 33 goals. If it’s just a motivation problem, that’s one thing. Players and GMs still regard him as talented. Given his current production, he may be a cheap gamble.
The Cost: Buffalo needs help on defense, and can’t take on a high cap number. They aren’t a very young team, but they aren’t too old to be still in a “building” mold. Draft picks will likely be their chief demand, but Boyes shouldn’t warrant a very high one. This is a move that the Sabres should’ve made earlier in the year, and will miss the playoffs largely due to poor decisions such as that.
The Epilogue: Boyes does have a skill set, but it’s hard to see where he would fit comfortably other than the power play. Seeing him to the right of Smith would make partial sense, but only if Weber and Suter are watching their backs at all times. Being slotted with Legwand makes more sense, but still awkward unless Wilson and Smith rekindle their magic from the first month.
- Calgary Flames Center
- 33 years old
- Making $3 million ($3 million cap hit), UFA after 2012
- Playmaking/Scoring center
- Having his best year since leaving Florida
Here’s an interesting one. The Flames are currently in 9th, thanks to a recent spike in scoring. Plus, that Northwest division is terrible. Nevertheless, the Flames are old, and not going far this year unless Mikka Kiprusoff transforms into a 6′ x 8′ sheet of plywood in front of the net. Olli is in his last year of his deal, and likely won’t return.
Calgary is playing well for a team that should be in “sell-mode”, but this is a team that needs a thorough makeover to match the direction of the rest of their division. If Iginla is retained, and he should be, Jokinen might be their best chance to start assembling pieces for the new look Flames. Especially with his current play, he’s a guy who can lift an entire line and play legit top line minutes.
The Catch: Up until this year, Olli hasn’t come close to reaching the production he displayed in Florida. He’s playing for a contract, which is both good and bad. For a man 33 years old, he has a grand total of 6 NHL playoff games; not exactly Mike Fisher’s resume’.
The Cost: As our good friend Cait Platt has said, the Flames need a lot of things. If the Flames lose a few before next week ends, the price for Jokinen could be ideal for a team needing a legit top line center without breaking the bank. Prospects and depth are needed, and while there are many expiring contracts on their current roster, Iginla, Glencross, and that other Finnish goalie are locked up for a little while. It’s hard to say what the cost is, or his value other than picks.
The Epilogue: A motivated and functional Olli Jokinen could be just what this team needs in Nashville. Knowing how Trotz likes to line match, having Jokinen between Smith and Wilson, would be downright sneaky. It’s possible this COULD be the best move for the forwards, but it’s also circumstantial since the Flames aren’t quite dead yet this year. Either way, David Poile should exchange numbers with his agent.
And finally, let’s lose all journalistic credibility and shoot for the stars… if you feel like….