Sabres Trade Eric Staal To Canadiens

Sabres Trade Eric Staal To Canadiens
Sabres Trade Eric Staal To Canadiens

Changes keep coming to Buffalo.

What has been a disastrous start to the season has resulted in 16 straight losses for the Sabres and firing their head coach just over a week ago. On Friday, the team traded Eric Staal to the Montreal Canadiens for a third and fifth round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. Staal was acquired by Buffalo during the offseason in a trade with the Minnesota Wild for forward Marcus Johansson.

The 36 year old Thunder Bay, Ontario native has struggled to find the net this year, scoring only three goals and tallying seven assists in 32 games thus far. That is very underwhelming compared to last year in Minnesota where he had 19 goals and 28 assists in 66 games. He’s not the only one who has struggled for Buffalo. Taylor Hall and Jack Eichel have also failed to meet the expectations of their scoring capability from previous seasons.

This move makes a lot of sense for Montreal as they need a veteran player as insurance down the stretch as they make a push for the playoffs. After they went on a poor stretch of losses, they fired head coach Claude Julien and have picked up the slack since. The Canadiens have climbed into fourth place, with a few games in hand on Vancouver and Calgary who are just below them.

Staal will most likely end up being the Canadiens fourth line centre as forward Jake Evans has plateaued in his performance recently compared to his hot start to the season. Staal will miss the next two games because of the 7 day quarantine protocol due to COVID-19. Montreal might be looking to make some more moves before the trade deadline to bolster their depth to make it into the playoffs after a back and forth season.

On the other hand, the Sabres have about two weeks before the trade deadline on April 12th to see if they can move Taylor Hall for assets. The team has fully collapsed and will set its sights on rebuilding for 2021-22. What they will be able to pull for Hall is a big question remaining in Buffalo.