Ryan O’Reilly finally moves on, as the Buffalo Sabres gain three players and two draft picks in a blockbuster trade with the St. Louis Blues.
As reported by Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News, the Sabres received three players and two draft picks as part of the trade. One of the picks is a first-rounder for 2019, although it is top 10 protected, while the other is a second-rounder in 2021.
The 30-year-old has amassed 322 points in 694 games, during his 10 years in the NHL. He is just one season removed from a career-high 23 goals.
More from Buffalo Sabres
- Buffalo Sabres and Victor Olofsson making progress on contract extension
- Buffalo Sabres still need goaltender help despite re-signing Anderson
- Buffalo Sabres: Time to close book on the Jack Eichel chapter
- Buffalo Sabres receiving interest in members of defensive core
- Buffalo Sabres focused on youth during another disastrous season
The Sabres also have the security of Berglund being under team control for the next four years, with a reasonable cap hit of $3.85 million per season. His veteran experience and leadership should prove extremely useful for a roster needing these attributes.
In general, the three additions help boost the strength of the Swords’ bottom-six center options. Of course, how much this makes up for the loss of O’Reilly, is another thing.
One the one hand, the Sabres lose a top-notch center. The 2009 33rd overall draft pick has been one of their only consistent and productive players during his three seasons with the team.
On the other hand, there are those who argue it’s a case of addition by subtraction after ongoing rumors that the 27-year-old was unhappy in Buffalo. The thinking was the Sabres needed to move him, with his apparent attitude proving detrimental to the team.
Regardless, one area the Swords did get an undisputed positive, is in respect of O’Reilly’s contract which still has five years to run, with an annual cap hit of $7.5 million. None of the salary was retained and the Blues had to pay the $7.5 million bonus he was owed on July 1.
"“We’ve always said, if we are going to make any movements on our team, we certainly will look at them because of where we finished in the standings. But it would have to make sense to make it, to improve our team.”"
The trade of O’Reilly represents another step in the Sabres’ attempts to turnaround the culture of the franchise and return to winning ways. The recent decision to not make a qualifying offer to Robin Lehner, was apparently also influenced — at least in part — by concerns about the player’s attitude.
Not bringing back Lehner led to the Sabres’ full invested efforts to sign Carter Hutton. Along with Berglund, Hutton will be expected to provide a steadying influence to help a young roster littered with talent, but needing positive presences to fulfill their potential.
What’s your take on the O’Reilly trade? Are you impressed with what the Buffalo Sabres got in return, or should they have held onto the center? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.