The Buffalo Sabres have had issues in goal since losing starter Linus Ullmark in free agency last summer and with one goalie injured and another in COVID protocol, GM Kevyn Adams made a move to bolster his depth between the pipes, acquiring Malcolm Subban from the Chicago Blackhawks for future considerations on Thursday.
The 27-year-old will be joining his fourth NHL club after playing for Boston, Vegas, and the Hawks in his seven-year professional career. Subban started 16 games for Chicago last season, but has been relegated to the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs this season after the Hawks acquired Marc-Andre Fleury from the Golden Knights.
Buffalo was outbid for Ullmark by the division-rival Bruins in free agency and scrambled to sign veteran replacements in Craig Anderson and Aaron Dell. Anderson performed well splitting time with journeyman Dustin Tokarski, leading to the Sabres unexpected strong start of the season, but the 41-year-old suffered an unspecified upper-body injury in early November and is out week-to-week.
Dell has been weak as a replacement, losing all five starts (including a 7-4 loss to Florida), while Tokarski has handled the majority of the workload (4-5-3, with a 3.28 GAA and .903 save percentage) before entering COVID protocol on Thursday. With Anderson’s long-term status in question, the Sabres have been looking to add help in net, as the organization wants prospect Ukka-Pekka Luukkonen to spend most of the year developing in the American Hockey League.
Buffalo was not interested in claiming goalie Matt Murray off of waivers earlier this week with the two-time Stanley Cup winner under contract for two more years at $6.25 million, opting to deal for Subban making $850,000 this season before becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer.
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