Before the trades began for the Buffalo Sabres, forward Cory Conacher was claimed off of waivers from the Ottawa Senators.
Conacher, a graduate of Canisius College, has 49 points in 107 career games. Conacher was traded to Ottawa last season at the Trade Deadline for goaltender Ben Bishop, but quickly fell out of sorts due to scoring only 4 goals in 60 games.
Following the claim of Conacher, the Sabres made their first deal of the day.
Buffalo would trade defenseman Brayden McNabb, forward Jonathan Parker, a second-round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and a second-round pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft to the Los Angeles Kings for forward Hudson Fasching and forward Nicolas Deslauriers.
This trade came off as a shock from the start, but clearly General Manager Tim Murray feels comfortable with the future defensive depth. McNabb struggled to make his mark during a time when the Sabres clearly are looking for players to do such a thing. Parker was a prospect in the system who bounced between the ECHL and the AHL, and did not appear to have an immediate future with the franchise.
Fasching is currently a freshman at the University of Minnesota, but said to be a “prototypical big power forward” with “great hands and is a surprisingly good skater with a powerful stride,” according to HockeysFuture.com. Deslauriers is a converted defenseman, who has tallied 39 points (18 goals, 21 assists) in 60 games this season with the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL.
Both 2nd-round picks acquired by Los Angeles today were the 2nd-round picks- traded to Buffalo last Trade Deadline for defenseman Robyn Regehr.
As the day went on, the Sabres would swap out more players.
In their second trade of the afternoon, the Sabres sent a package of Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick to the Minnesota Wild for forward Torrey Mitchell and a second-round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and a second-round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
Moulson has been traded from Buffalo since the minute he was acquired. A goal-scoring pending UFA is the biggest trade chip that a General Manager can have. As for Cody McCormick, he adds bottom-six grit to a playoff team. McCormick and Torrey Mitchell are the same type of player, Minnesota clearly just feels higher about McCormick.
The 2014 second-round pick comes via Winnipeg, and the 2016 pick belongs directly to the Wild.
And for the final trade of the day, the Sabres completed a deal with the Washington Capitals.
Buffalo would deal goaltender Jaroslav Halak and a third-round pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft for goaltender Michal Neuvirth and defenseman Rostislav Klesla.
Halak never appeared in a game for Buffalo, after being acquired last Friday evening, but was a backup on Monday against Dallas. With this taking place, Halak becomes the 19th player ever in Buffalo Sabres history to dress for, but not play in, a regular season game. The 2015 draft pick belongs to the Sabres.
In return, the Sabres received Michal Neuvirth, who has a career record 59-41-13 with a 2.67 GAA and a .910 save percentage. Neuvirth was looking for a new chance in the National Hockey League after being beat out for the Capitals starting goaltender job by Braden Holtby. This deal represents that second chance for Neuvirth.
Defenseman Rostislav Klesla, a pending UFA, is a NHL veteran who has appeared in 659 games. Klesla has 159 career points (48 goals, 111 assists) in 659 games. It has already been announced that Klesla will begin in the AHL with the Rochester Americans.
While the Sabres appear to be heading in a positive direction, there is still work to do. Today was the first step towards rebuilding this franchise, with the next coming at the NHL Draft in a few months.