In a day where trades are expected, the Buffalo Sabres made a big splash hours before the NHL Draft has even begun.
Sabres general manager Tim Murray has shipped off his second first round pick this year, the 21st overall pick, to the Ottawa Senators. In return, the Sabres acquire goaltender Robin Lehner and veteran center David Legwand.
Murray has some history with Lehner in Ottawa, as the Senators drafted Lehner 46th overall back in the 2009 NHL Draft.
Lehner was the goaltender for Murray in Binghamton with the Senators’ AHL affiliate, and won a championship in 2010-11 in Binghamton. Lehner was also awarded the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the AHL playoffs MVP, and he was just a rookie.
The 6′ 3″ and 225-pound goaltender has played in just 86 games at the NHL level, and has compiled a 30-36-13 record in five seasons in Ottawa.
Last season, Lehner suffered an alarming concussion in February that put him on the shelf for the rest of the season. Lehner is recovering from the concussion, and is reported to be ready to go come training camp.
Lehner is only 23 years old, and still has two years on his current contract with a $2.225 million dollar average cap hit per year. Lehner will be a restricted free agent come July 1, 2017.
The Sabres also acquired 34-year old veteran center David Legwand as part of the deal.
Legwand, a former 2nd overall pick in the 1998 NHL Draft (in Buffalo), is in the final year of a two-year contract signed last season with the Senators. His average annual salary is $3 million.
Last season with Ottawa, Legwand scored nine goals and 18 assists in 80 games played. Legwand has scored 223 career goals and 604 career points in over 1,000 career NHL games with the Nashville Predators, Detroit Red Wings, and Senators.
The Sabres in the deal had to give up the 21st overall pick, which was acquired in the Thomas Vanek trade back in October of 2013.
With the prospect depth at this year’s draft, the top 20 of the draft are prospects that could have the potential to have an impact at the NHL level in a 1-2 year span. After the top 20 of the draft, the talent level drops off to players who could have an impact at the NHL level in 3-4 years.
This trade will nearly complete the Vanek trade, which happened over a year and a half ago. In that traded, Buffalo sent Vanek to the Islanders in exchange for Matt Moulson, a 2015 1st-round pick (21st overall), and a 2015 2nd-round pick. With this trade, the Sabres will have not gotten Matt Moulson, Robin Lehner, David Legwand, and the 2nd-round pick (51st overall).
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