The Minnesota Wild have acquired forward Marcus Johansson from the Buffalo Sabres, according to TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger. Forward Eric Staal is heading to Buffalo in return. It is a straight-up trade: Johansson for Staal.
At a glance, the Sabres get the second line center they’ve been looking for, and the Wild get faster and younger.
Though both players hold partial no-trade clauses, Michael Russo of The Athletic reports that neither one had their new team blocked.
Johansson is nearly six years younger than Staal and both players will become unrestricted free agents at the end of next season. Johansson is coming off a season of nine goals and 30 points in 60 games. But, he also scored 24 goals and 58 points as recently as 2016-17 and will only turn 30 next month. The Wild must be banking he can get some of that magic back.
From a Sabres perspective, the team will get a center who, in 66 regular season games with Minnesota, recorded 47 points, which would have put him third behind only Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart. So too, the organization will save money ($1.25 million), as Staal is owed $3 million on a contract that carries a cap hit of $3.25 million for next season. Meanwhile, Johansson will be paid $4 million on a $4.5 milllion cap hit deal.
There was no salary retained in the trade from either side.
Russo tweets that Eric Staal was “stunned” to learn about the deal who, in 66 regular season games with Minnesota, scored 47 points. He’ll join some former teammates, including Jeff Skinner.
This now the second trade the Wild have completed in under a week, previously acquiring Nick Bjugstad from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
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