Sabres trade for Boychuk’s rights from the Islanders

Buffalo buys themselves some flexibility down the line

The Buffalo Sabres have capped off a big day for the franchise by trading future considerations for the rights for Johnny Boychuk.

The New York Islanders defenseman retired last November following an eye injury sustained after he got cut by the skate of Montreal Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen in March 2020. He is on a seven-year contract with the Isles that expires at the end of the current season.

While immediate perception was that the Sabres only traded for Boychuk so as to get them over the salary cap floor, the fine folk at CapFriendly clarified that Buffalo was above the cap floor at all times before the Jack Eichel trade, or else the league would have never approved of the trade with the Vegas Golden Knights.

Since a lot of Boychuk’s contract was front-loaded plus the 60% insured cap, the Sabres only owe him $500,000 prorated to today’s date while adding a $6 million cap hit for the rest of the season. This will give General Manager Kevyn Adams a lot more flexibility and room to maneuver should he be looking to make more trades this season.

With Boychuk not actually pulling on the Sabres jersey, Buffalo have actually done the Isles a favor by clearing up some cap room, about $2 million right now and continuing to grow. It will be interesting to see how this favor is repaid further down the line.