The Sabres acquired forward Conor Sheary and defenseman Matt Hunwick from the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday afternoon for a conditional 4th round draft pick in the 2019 draft.
This was nothing but a cap dump for the Penguins, clearing up a $3 million cap hit for Sheary and $2.25 million for Hunwick, but if Sheary can produce like he has in Pittsburgh, it can look like a steal for the Sabres when it’s all said and done.
Sheary is the main part of this trade, as he has shown the ability to put up some good offensive numbers throughout his three year career. In 184 games played since being called up by the Penguins in 2015, Sheary has 48 goals and 45 assists. His most productive season was 2016-17, during which he scored 23 goals and 30 assists in 61 games.
— Sabres Goal a Day (@SabresGoalADay) June 27, 2018
In addition to being one of the smaller players on the ice, listed at 5’8″ and 175 pounds, Sheary is known for his speed and his high hockey IQ, which could be the reason why he spent much of the last two seasons on Sidney Crosby’s wing.
With the talent in Pittsburgh, it’s no surprise that Sheary had little to no ice time on the power play, however the initial thought is that he may have a power play role in Buffalo.
Though he is young, the 26-year-old has two Stanley Cup rings and has already played in 57 playoff games. This can make him a great asset inside the locker room, as he knows what it takes for a team to achieve the ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup.
— Greg Vorse TV (@GregVorse) June 27, 2018
There are some concerns over Sheary, just as there are about almost every other player in the NHL. He is small in stature and is a bit of a streaky scorer. Last season, during a 44-game stretch between November and March, he scored only seven goals and nine assists.
The biggest question facing him is about how his productivity may drop after leaving arguably the best player in the world’s line, but if he can play at the level that Crosby demands there is no reason to think he can’t play with Jack Eichel.
At first glance, this looks like a very good trade for the Sabres. They picked up a young speedy winger, who they have under contract for the next two years in addition to an expendable defenseman.
As of right now, the Sabres are looking at a potential top line of Sheary-Eichel-Reinhart and with Sheary’s speed, Eichel’s natural talent, and the chemistry Eichel and Reinhart have formed over the last few years, this may be the first legitimate top line the Sabres have had in years.