Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

February 2, 2012

Sabres' Boyes hoping to avoid fifth deadline trade

BUFFALO — Brad Boyes is trying hard not to sweat the upcoming NHL trade deadline. Having been dealt four times at the cutoff, including last season when St. Louis shipped him here, he’s used to experiencing the uncertainty.

“I try to turn my phone off, but they find ways to get a hold of me,” the struggling Sabres forward joked Thursday inside the First Niagara Center.

This season, though, Boyes, an upcoming unrestricted free agent, believes he won’t draw much interest.

“I have three goals, so I don’t know who’s coming running,” Boyes said bluntly.

Still, someone could take a flier on the 29-year-old before Feb. 27, perhaps offer the Sabres a low draft pick. He would only be owed about six weeks of his $4 million salary.

It’s easy to forget, but Sabres fans greeted Boyes’ arrival from the Blues 11 months ago like a superstar was coming to town. The trade, Terry Pegula’s first significant transaction, signaled the owner would spend for a winner as he had promised.

Boyes, a 43-goal scorer in 2007-08, immediately rewarded the Sabres, tallying five times in his first 10 games.

Counting the postseason, Boyes has four goals in his last 56 contests dating back to last year.

What’s happened?

Boyes can’t explain it. He shakes his head while talking candidly about his meager output, the frustration visible in his face and evident in his voice.

“It’s not fun. You’re here for a reason, obviously,” Boyes said after finishing a long workout. “You got to chip in and (reach) your goal, and part of my goal is scoring goals at timely parts of the game. I haven’t been doing that. I don’t know what it is anymore. … Just keep going. Hopefully, they bounce. ... It’s just frustrating to say the least.”

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