BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Sabres general manager Jason Botterill made a deadline deal on Monday, it just wasn't nearly as big as the shakeup he made Sunday. Despite discussions with other teams, the Sabres made only one trade in the final hours before the 3:00 p.m. deadline, sending Nathan Beaulieu to Winnipeg in exchange for a sixth-round pick.
Beaulieu appeared to be the player the Sabres were most likely to move and less than an hour after the clock hit 3:00 p.m. the news broke on Twitter. When speaking with reporters, Botterill couldn't comment on the Beaulieu deal because it hadn't been made official with the league.
This season, Beaulieu has been a healthy scratch more than 20 times. Earlier in the year, reports surfaced that the defenseman preferred to be moved to a team where he'd receiver more playing time. With an expiring contract this summer and a crowded blue line, the former first-round pick became expendable, especially after the Sabres added Brandon Montour on Sunday evening.
When Botterill added Beaulieu last summer it was a low-risk move with upside. It didn’t work out how the Sabres had hoped but I give them credit for taking a swing at the former first-round pick. Adding a sixth-round pick after you gave away a third-round pick isn't an ideal return but it's better than nothing.
As for the deadline as a whole, despite only a minor move Monday, I think Botterill did a very nice job. Adding Montour is a bigger splash than many of us expected they'd make.
"We felt this was a move that helps our group right now but also is someone who can grow and someone who can grow into a better NHL player," Botterill said Monday afternoon.
Not only does Montour make the Sabres a more talented team in the short term, but it also makes them a bigger threat for years to come.