The Buffalo Sabres began the teardown of their roster on Friday, trading veteran center Eric Staal to the Montreal Canadiens for a 2021 third-round and fifth-round pick. The 36-year-old was acquired by the Sabres last September from Minnesota for Marcus Johansson to address Buffalo’s need for a second-line center behind Jack Eichel but did not perform up to expectations, with just 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) in 32 games.
The Sabres are retaining 50% of Staal’s $3.25 million salary in the deal to allow Montreal to fit the veteran underneath the $81.5 million salary cap. Buffalo’s extended their losing skid to 16 with a 4-0 loss to Pittsburgh on Thursday with GM Kevyn Adams stepping in behind the bench due to interim coach Don Granato and assistant coach Matt Ellis entering COVID-19 protocol.
After the loss, winger Taylor Hall made it clear that he is willing to accept a trade out of Buffalo.
“Yeah, for sure.”— John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) March 26, 2021
– Taylor Hall, who has a no-move clause, on whether he’d be willing to listen to trade options if Sabres GM Kevyn Adams gets offers.
Hall signed a one-year, $8 million contract last October and has been among the biggest disappointments for the last-place Sabres, with 17 points (2 goals, 15 assists) in 32 games, but teams in need of an offensive infusion may think that the former Hart Trophy winner can thrive outside of Buffalo.
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Adams is expected to be one of the busiest sellers leading up to the April 12th trade deadline, with defensemen Brandon Montour, Matt Irwin, forwards Tobias Rieder, Riley Sheahan, and goalies Linus Ullmark, and Carter Hutton on expiring contracts.