The Buffalo Sabres just can't stop making moves, and with their latest, they've taken one of the biggest fish off of the trade market, one who's been out there for a few years.
The Sabres have traded defenseman Nikita Zadorov, forward Mikhail Grigorenko, prospect JT Compher, and the 31st pick in the 2015 draft to the Colorado Avalanche for center Ryan O'Reilly and left wing Jamie McGinn.
Full deal is O'Reilly/McGinn for Zadorov/Grigorenko/Compher and 31. Done like the hair on the top of my head.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 26, 2015
O'Reilly, who has been the centerpiece of trade rumors for the past few years, fills the desperate need the Sabres had for another top six forward to go along with Ennis, Moulson, Girgensons, Kane, and Eichel. He'll be an immediate impact player in Buffalo thanks to his offensive skill, putting up 17 goals and 55 points for a bad Colorado team last season.
O'Reilly has been one of the top players in even strength points/60 over the past few seasons and drives possession well. He can play center on the second line, wing on the top line, and plays a strong two-way game as well. Basically, he's exactly what the Sabres needed to put this rebuild into overdrive.
One of the hangups with O'Reilly has been his monster contract demands. He is signed through next year, but is looking for an extension in the $60 million range, for about $7.5 million per season. The Sabres, who are $24 million under the cap, can certainly afford that, and likely made the trade with the understanding that they'll be able to sign him after July 1, when he can negotiate.
As for Jamie McGinn, the 26-year old left winger will fit in very well on Buffalo's bottom six. He's a good defensive player who can still contribute on offense, having scored 20 and 19 goals in 2011 and 2013 respectively. He missed most of last season with back surgery, and has one year left on his contract at just under $3 million.
Today the Sabres nabbed Jack Eichel, Robin Lehner, and Ryan O'Reilly, a starting goaltender and two excellent top-six players. Tim Murray is a man possessed, and the Sabres will look very, very different next season in a very good way.
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