Sabres acquire Eric Staal from Minnesota in exchange for Marcus Johansson

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Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal controls the puck against the Calgary Flames during an NHL hockey game Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Sabres have been searching for a second line center and that now have their answer as GM Kevyn Adams traded for Eric Staal with the Wild in exchange for Marcus Johansson.

“Eric Staal has had a world class career. He’s won a Stanley Cup, he’s won an Olympic gold medal, he’s won a World Championship Gold Medal, he’s been an All-Star many times, he’s still a very productive player,” Sabres general manager said on a conference call Wednesday.

This is Adams’s first trade as general manager of the Sabres and it just so happens it’s a guy he’s already familiar with having played with him in Carolina when they won the Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006.

“He’s a tremendous person, high character, tremendous leader, former captain, obviously because of the past I have my experience of being his former teammate and I’ve seen that up close and personal. We added a phenomenal player and person today, very excited about it.”

He also adds a much needed veteran presence to the Sabres’ center depth and that can only help Dylan Cozens as he continues to develop and get his game up to NHL level.

“Really looking at our roster over these last couple months and having kind of a short and medium and long term plan of what we need to do obviously identifying the center ice position and trying to strengthen ourselves up the middle is important,” Adams said.

“So to be able to look around the league and to be able to target and identify a player like Eric was really important so it was definitely something we were working on doing.”

Last season Staal scored 47 points in 66 games. Throughout his 16 seasons in the NHL, Staal rnaks 6th in goals among active NHL players and 8th in points.

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