The St. Louis Blues added some forward depth today by signing Tyler Bozak and David Perron, but weren’t done making a splash. The team has acquired Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly. The Sabres will receive a 2019 first round pick, a 2021 second round pick, Tage Thompson, Vladimir Sobotka and Patrik Berglund. The deal will be completed today and the Blues will pay O’Reilly’s $7.5MM signing bonus, due just before midnight. The 2019 pick is top-10 protected, meaning should the season get away from the Blues they will not have to give up a high pick next summer.
While the deal certainly brings several assets to the Sabres, getting rid of the Sobotka and Berglund contracts were imperative for the Blues to get something like this done. TO complete the deal without giving up one of their top prospects like Robert Thomas or Jordan Kyrou, while also protecting their deep defensive corps. The Blues are ready to compete once again in 2018-19, and have brought in some experienced forwards to put them over the top.
For the Sabres, they not only deal O’Reilly before having to pay his signing bonus, but also get five useful assets. While Sobotka and Berglund were slightly overpaid and potentially hurting the Blues salary structure, they’re clear upgrades on some of the bottom-six options that Buffalo has used over the past few seasons. Thompson meanwhile is an excellent prospect in his own right, and should give them another key building block in their quest for redemption. Grouping the 20-year old Thompson with Rasmus Dahlin, Jack Eichel, Casey Mittelstadt and others will give Buffalo a core that they can really market as a future perennial playoff team.