After debate over his signing bonus and the price teams would have to pay in return for Ryan O’Reilly if the Sabres paid his $7.5 million bonus, it appears general manager Jason Botterill has found a partner with the St. Louis Blues.
O’Reilly was acquired in 2015 in a trade with Colorado to land the star centerman. After the Sabres finished 31st in the league standings, O’Reilly was vocal during locker cleanout how the losing had caused him to lose the “love of the game.”
St. Louis general manager Doug Armstrong said this deal was “several months in the making” and should benefit the long term goals of both the Sabres and Blues.
This move comes day the Sabres signed former Blues goalie Carter Hutton to a three-year $8.25 million contract.
O’Reilly finished the 2017-2018 season with Buffalo playing in 81 games, with 61 points, scoring 24 goals and 37 assists.
The 27-year-old was a Lady Byng award finalist this past season and set a single season NHL record with 1,269.
The Sabres will reportedly receive center’s Patrik Berglund, Vladamir Sobotka and Tage Thompson in the deal, along with the Blues first round pick in 2019 and a second round selection in 2021.
Berglund played in only 57 games last season but finished fourth on the team with 17 goals. Sobotka finished with 31 points (11-20-31) in 81 games while Thompson netted just nine points in 41 games with the club.
Both Berglund and Sobotka will provide depth down the middle for the Sabres. Both players possession and ability to score, but also are known are solid two-way players.
The first round selection in the 2019 draft now gives the Sabres three first round selection next season.