The Buffalo Sabres have traded forward and co-captain Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders.
According to the Sabres’ official website, Buffalo acquired forward Matt Moulson, a 2014 first-round draft pick and a 2015 second-round draft pick in exchange for Vanek.
Moulson, 29, is expected to help boost the Sabres offense. He scored six goals — including five on the power play — in nine games for the Islanders in 2013-14. He has scored at least 30 goals in three consecutive seasons.
Sabres general manager Darcy Regier has convinced owner Terry Pegula to rebuild by way of the draft, per John Vogl of Buffalo News. As of Oct 28, the Sabres have the worst record in the NHL with a 2-11 mark.
Regier thanked Vanek, who would have been an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and lauded Moulson’s prowess in a press release on the team’s official website.
“I’d like to start by thanking Thomas Vanek for the contributions that he’s made to our organization going back to his draft year, 2003 — 10-plus years. He’s been an outstanding player, outstanding teammate, citizen. The organization and we wish him the best going forward.
“Matt, I believe, will address our current needs and provide us with support, leadership, scoring. And with where our hockey club is, the first- and second-round picks are important, whether we select them at the draft, use the picks to select players at the draft or whether we use them to continue to improve the hockey club as we go forward through this season is yet to be determined.
“But that was the focus for this deal. It was a deal that has been worked on off and on for awhile and it was something that we felt we had to do.”
Vanek’s agent, Steven Bartlett, confirmed to ESPN New York that there is no contract extension with the Islanders. He said,”He’ll concentrate on going down there and doing well. Hopefully, it will be a breath of fresh air.”
Vanek is in the last year of his seven-year, $50 million contract. There is speculation that “he might sign with the Minnesota Wild this summer,” per ESPN New York’s Katie Strang.
For his part, Moulson told Strang he has to move on. He said,“I guess this is what happens in pro sports. I gotta move on. Obviously, I’ll miss everyone, but this will be a new chapter.”
Moulson has a cap hit of approximately $3.1 million while Vanek’s is around $7.1 million.