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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

What do Toronto, San Jose and Boston have in common? They’re all members of the Brad Boyes Broken Hearts Club.

After three teams gave up on him, the 25-year-old, who was drafted 24th overall by Toronto in 2000, is now making sweet music in St. Louis with nine goals through 10 games.

Now, is Boyes going to maintain his 74-goal pace? Um, no. But 35 goals sure sounds reasonable.

In acquiring Boyes from Boston for blueliner Dennis Wideman last year, St. Louis management hammered home a couple of simple, but key, points.

First, as pointed out in this article by Jeff Gordon, it always makes sense to take what you have a surplus of and swap it for something you need. The Blues, despite a miserable season last year, knew they were set on defense, so they moved a rearguard out in an attempt to add scoring.

I also like the fact St. Louis went after a reasonably young first-rounder whom they felt simply hadn’t been put in a situation where he could thrive. There are so many examples of high picks who have flopped with the team that drafted them, only to take off once moved to a squad they were better suited for.

Talent doesn’t go away and while in some cases it is purely a bad read when a player is drafted high and doesn��t pan out, sometimes it’s just a case of the player needing the right opportunity to come along. Cam Neely, Markus Naslund, Keith Primeau are just a few examples of first-rounders who toiled and teased with the team that selected them before realizing their potential after an early-career trade.

Boyes may never have the kind of impact those three had at times in their careers, but even if he turns out to be St. Louis’ version of Kristian Huselius (a smallish, skilled player who floundered in Florida, but caught fire in Calgary) the Blues will be turning cartwheels for years.

BORN LEADER Is there a better captain in the league than Rod Brind’Amour? At 37, he looks like he’s just picking up steam. The freakishly fit Cane is within spitting distance of the league scoring lead and, as pointed out in the most recent issue of The Hockey News, Brind’Amour has won 618 more faceoffs than anybody else over the past three years.

We make a lot of jokes in this office about media types using the world ‘literally’ when heaping praise on people (was he really on fire last week?), but don’t you get the sense if every Carolina player actually hopped on Brind’Amour’s back (OK, maybe if they took turns hopping on his back), he’d still find some way to carry them to the promised land?


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