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Staal Is Sabres' Second Line Center

September 16, 2020, 5:47 PM ET [27 Comments]
Mark Pino
Buffalo Sabres Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT

The Buffalo Sabres have FINALLY found their second line center.

Sabres GM Kevyn Adams has traded traded with the Minnesota Wild for 35 year old pivot Eric Staal.

Forward Marcus Johansson, 29, is going to Minnesota in the deal. Johansson has one year remaining on his contract at $4.5M AAV. Johansson can play wing and center for Minnesota.

Staal, 35, has played first line center for the Wild for the past few seasons. The Wild acquired center Nick Bjugstad from Pittsburgh to give their top six a different look next season.

Staal has one year remaining on his contract at $3.25M AAV.

Interesting to note that Adams' first trade as an NHL GM is his former teammate Eric Staal. Adams and Staal won a Stanley Cup together with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2005-06.

It is noteworthy that Sabres head coach Ralph Kreuger's finger prints are all over this Eric Staal trade. Kreuger was a consultant to Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford from 2005-10.

Staal played with Sabres winger Jeff Skinner in Raleigh from 2010-2016. I look for Staal and Skinner to skate together on Buffalo's second line in 2020-21.

Staal has played 16 NHL seasons. He scored 19 goals and 47 points last season, third best on the Wild. In 2018-19, Staal scored 22 goals, 42 goals in 2017-18, and 28 goals in 2016-17.

My friends @PuckPedia tell me after that after Staal/Johansson trade (-$1.25M Cap Hit) the Sabres now have $47.25M with 11 players (5F/5D/1G) including $637.5K bonus carryover (assumed 50%, 2 yr split) for $34.25M Salary Cap Space

Sabres RFAs: Reinhart, Olofsson, Thompson, Lazar, Kahun, Montour, Pilut, Ullmark

In 1240 regular season games, Staal has scored 436 goals and 585 assists for 1021 points. In 62 playoff games, Staal has scored 21 goals and 30 assists.

Staal is a gamer and comes to play every night. Staal has missed only four games missed since 2016 with an 18:05 TOI (279 points).

In the same time period, Johansson has missed nearly 100 games and a 16:38 TOI (178 points).

Staal ranks in the top 10 among active NHL players in career regular-season games played (7th), goals (6th) and points (8th).

Ranked third among Wild skaters in goals (19) and points (47) in 2019-20, tying for the team lead with 14 even-strength goals and earning his sixth career NHL All-Star Game selection.

One of six active NHL members of the Triple Gold Club, winning the 2006 Stanley Cup and gold medals with Canada at 2007 IIHF World Championship and 2010 Winter Olympics

The Sabres will run a center battalion of Jack Eichel-Eric Staal-Dylan Cozens, which is a massive upgrade from their 2019-20 alignment.

I like that Staal has 16 seasons of NHL service in his hockey bag. His professionalism and experience will be useful and beneficial to developing the rookie Cozens as well as being a positive role model for Eichel.

Eric Staal career accomplishments:

* Helped lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup championship with an NHL-best 28 points (9+19) in the 2006 NHL Playoffs.

* Played in six NHL All-Star Games and was selected as the All-Star Game MVP in 2008.
Has represented Canada in four major international competitions, captaining the nation’s 2013 IIHF World Championship team. Won a gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics and at the 2007 IIHF World Championship.

* Has served as a captain or alternate captain in 12 of his 16 NHL seasons, including seven seasons as captain of the Hurricanes.

* Named to the NHL’s second All-Star Team in 2005-06 and the CHL’s First All-Star Team in 2002-03.

* Played in the 2005 AHL All-Star Game, the 2004 NHL YoungStars Game and the 2003 CHL Top Prospects Game.

I like the trade for the Sabres.

How about you?

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