The Montreal Canadiens have acquired forward Eric Staal from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for 2021 third-round and fifth-round picks, the team announced Friday.
Staal was traded to the Sabres from the Minnesota Wild in September 2020 in an effort to bolster Buffalo's offensive corps, but as the team has slumped to rock bottom, this may be the first of many moves the team makes ahead of the deadline.
Buffalo will retain $1.625 million of Staal's salary for the 2021 campaign. Staal recorded three goals and 10 points in 32 games for the Sabres this season, projecting for the worst statistical output of his 17-year career. Although Montreal did its best to address its scoring void in the offseason, acquiring Tyler Toffoli, Josh Anderson and Corey Perry, the club needs some additional scoring punch to mount a serious threat in the North Division playoff race and beyond.
For the Sabres, this very well could serve as an admission that they need to start all over again. General manager Kevyn Adams had a simple mandate this summer: get Jack Eichel more help, and Staal constituted a move in the right direction, at least at the time.
But as the Sabres remain on a 16-game losing streak, slinking to dead last in the league, while Eichel remains out indefinitely due to an upper-body injury, the club is best served looking toward the future once again.
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