The news for the Buffalo Sabres continues to get better this week as we get closer and closer to training camp beginning.
First on Monday the news broke that the Montreal Canadiens had finally found a suitor for Max Pacioretty, and traded him to the Vegas Golden Knights. The Habs got back a 2019 2nd Round pick, 2017 1st Round pick Nick Suzuki and veteran forward Tomas Tatar.
Pacioretty is now in the last year for a reasonably cheap $4.5m/yr deal and was always expected to leave Montreal with the Habs continuing their rebuild.
Earlier today the Ottawa Senators then ended the longest-running player drama in the NHL by finally trading away defenseman Erik Karlsson and prospect winger Francis Perron to the San Jose Sharks. In return, the Sens appear to have picked up quantity but not much quality, and none of it looks like good value for the near future - a 2019 or 2020 1st Round pick, a 2019 2nd Round pick, forwards Chris Tierney, Josh Norris, and Rudolfs Balcers, and defenseman Dylan DeMelo, as well as two more conditional picks.
If the Sharks fail to make the playoffs this season, they will give up the 2019 1st Round pick or else it’s the 2020 selection. Additionally, if they sign Karlsson to a new deal, then they get a 2021 2nd Round pick. Finally, if they flip the defenseman to any Eastern Conference team, then the Sharks will have to give up another 1st Round pick, anytime before 2022.
Considering the Sabres also have the Sharks’ lottery protected 1st Round pick for the 2019 draft (automatically becomes a 2020 1st Rounder if they don’t make the playoffs this season), it appears San Jose are going all in for the Stanley Cup right now and mortgaging the future for it.
But the big news for the Sabres is that with both Pacioretty and Karlsson gone from the Atlantic Division, things get much better for Buffalo.
Pacioretty had feasted on the Sabres in the past, with 30pts (12G, 18A) in 38 games against Buffalo while playing top line minutes. His shot total of 132 against the Sabres was his second highest against any team in his 626 game career.
Karlsson also appeared to save his best for Buffalo, also scoring 30pts (11G, 19A) in 38 games against the Sabres. His shot total of 145 was by far the highest for him against any team in the NHL, and he completed the trifecta of scoring even strength, powerplay and shorthanded goals against Buffalo.
The Buffalo Sabres start training camp tomorrow, and will do so with a boost in their step knowing two of the biggest thorns in their behinds in recent years will only be seen infrequently now.