Buffalo Sabres Pull Off Major Trade
It was back on locker clean-out day in April when Ryan O'Reilly said some startling things to the media group packed around him. And as he was saying it I wondered if this might be the last time we would see him in a Sabres locker room. O'Reilly essentially said it had almost become ok to lose. "We're stuck in this mindset of just being OK with losing....As long as I did some things well, it's OK."
O'Reilly said at times he had lost his passion for the game. "I feel throughout the year I've lost the love of the game multiple times. You need to get back to it because it's just eating myself up and eats the other guys, too." Although he admitted loving the city and playing for the Sabres it appears his honesty cost him a spot with the team.
The Sabres on Sunday night traded O'Reilly to the St. Louis Blues and in exchange the Sabres get forwards Tage Thompson, Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Sobotka, a first round draft pick next year and a second round pick in 2021. In addition, the Blues will pay O'Reilly the $7.5 million bonus he was due Sunday night at midnight.
That's quite a haul for a guy who had been the Sabres highest-paid player in 2017-18. The Blues are getting a dependable player, especially taking faceoffs and the Sabres are getting some solid reinforcements. It's a great deal for both teams.
I hate to see O'Reilly go. He was a class act, but the Sabres have been skating in circles for a number of years and O'Reilly hasn't made a huge difference. His plus/minus dropped significantly this past season. And if he wasn't part of the solution in the locker room, then he was part of the problem.
Earlier in the day the Sabres made a free agent acquisition that had connections to the Blues. The Sabres signed goaltender Carter Hutton who had spent the past six seasons with the Blues. He led the NHL last season with a 2.09 goals against average and a .931 save percentage. He's expected to split time in goal with Linus Ullmark.