Sabres trade Eric Staal to Montreal for draft picks

Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo Sabres forward Eric Staal (12) during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Rangers, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Eric Staal’s time in Buffalo was short-lived. Six months after the Sabres acquired the forward, they’ve shipped him off to Montreal in exchange for a 3rd- and a 5th-round draft pick in 2021, the Canadiens announced.

His first, and only, season in Buffalo, Staal has 10 points in 32 games. He’s scored three goals and has seven assists. General Manager Kevyn Adams sent out a statement regarding Staal’s trade.

“The professionalism Eric displayed during his time with the Sabres was felt by everybody in our organization from top to bottom,” the statement said. “I know his leadership and demeanor were valued by our players, coaches and staff, and Eric’s impact on our young players is obvious. It was a pleasure to be around Eric again and I wish him and his family all the best.”

With the season they’re having, many expected the Sabres to make some sort of move before the NHL’s trade deadline. Teammate Kyle Okposo didn’t sound surprised at all when he heard initial trade rumors for Staal.

“It’s pretty obvious. Nobody’s naive here,” Okposo said. “Everybody knows what’s going on with the situation we’re in and we know that there’s going to be changes coming. It doesn’t make it any easier.”

Even though nothing had been finalized, Okposo said he still spoke to Staal Thursday when they heard about the news of the potential trade.

“Found out about [Staal] right before practice and just got off the ice to go wish him well,” Okposo said. “He’s a character guy. He’s a really good person, he’s a good man, he’s had a heck of a career to date and he’s going to continue to play well. Wish him nothing but the best.”

The Sabres acquired Staal this past offseason in a trade with the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Marcus Johansson.

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