The Wayne Primeau trade tree is shockingly still benefiting the Buffalo Sabres to this day. There’s a couple core Sabres players that are pieces that branched off of the initial Wayne Primeau trade.
2001 2nd Round Pick (32)
Tampa Bay Acquires
2000 3rd Round Pick (81)
Buffalo acquired a former 3rd overall pick in Chris Gratton as well as a decently high pick in the 32nd overall pick in the 2001 NHL draft. Gratton had a couple productive seasons in the late 90s with the Flyers and Lightning but he really never lived up to the hype of being a number 3 pick in the draft. Gratton played 3 seasons in Buffalo and had around 40 points in every year that he played for the team. And Derek Roy was a slam dunk with the 32nd overall pick in the 01 draft. Roy had a very good run in Buffalo where he scored at least 60 points in 4 consecutive seasons. Buffalo gave up on former first round pick, Wayne Primeau who never really lived up to being a 1st round pick. They also gave up on Cory Sarich just after his rookie season. Sarich ended up carving out a pretty good career with Tampa Bay and Calgary. And they unfortunately had to include Brian Holzinger in the trade. Holzinger played an important role on the Sabres team who made it to the 1999 Stanley Cup Final.
2004 3rd Round Pick (71)
2004 4th Round Pick (112)
This deal is arguably one of the best trades in Buffalo Sabres franchise history. Darcy Regier straight up robbed the Coyotes of a star calibre player. Gratton really didn’t amount to much in his time in the desert and Briere quickly started to be noticed as a star player in Buffalo. Briere was acquired at the trade deadline in 2003 was near a point per game for the rest of the disappointing 2003 Sabres season. Briere became the face of the Sabres franchise during the 05-06 and 06-07 seasons and put up a total of 137 points in 129 games during those 2 seasons. Unfortunately, the Sabres were not able to keep Briere long term as he walked as a free agent on July 1st, 2007 to go join the Philadelphia Flyers. Andrej Sekera was selected with the 2004 3rd round pick the Sabres received in this deal and I think that was a great pick by the Sabres scouting staff.
The Sabres had an identity crisis in the 2011-2012 season. Ryan Miller was run by Milan Lucic and there was little response to the hit by the team. Darcy Regier decided that the team had to get tougher and acquired the likes of Steve Ott and John Scott in the offseason. Roy had a few very productive seasons in Buffalo but he just wasn’t the top line centerman that the team needed with the departures of Danny Briere and Chris Drury. Ott served a co-captain of the Sabres in the 2013-2014 season along with Thomas Vanek. Personally, I would’ve liked to see Buffalo get picks and or prospects in exchange for Roy but, as you will see later in this trade tree this return will work out well for Buffalo.
2013 2nd Round Pick (35)
Could Buffalo have fetched a better return for Sekera? Judging by the return Carolina got for him in the Kings trade a couple years back by acquiring Roland McKeown as well as a 1st round pick that ended up becoming Julien Gauthier, it certainly looks like Darcy Regier could’ve gotten a better return than just a high 2nd round pick that turned into becoming J.T. Compher and the tank legend himself, Jamie McBain. But, J.T Compher does look like he’ll become a very good bottom six forward in the future. It’s a shame that Compher had to be included in the Ryan O’Reilly trade but at the end of the day, he’s a replaceable player. I believe that it would’ve been wise if Regier would’be held on to Sekera until the trade deadline so they could’ve gotten the better return for him.
2015 1st Round Pick (25)
2016 3rd Round Pick (89)
St. Louis Acquires
This is a shockingly great return for a goaltender. That year, the goaltending trade market was expected to be very dry so GMTM only had a select few teams that he’d be able to trade Miller to. Even though he was handcuffed he was able to pull off an absolute heist. Ryan Miller did not sign an extension with St. Louis so Buffalo received a 2016 3rd round pick. Had Miller been signed by the Blues, Buffalo would’ve received St. Louis’ 1st round pick in the 2014 draft. Steve Ott signed an extension with the Blues but he just recently retired and joined the Blue’s coaching staff.
2015 3rd Round Pick (62)
If you remember when Tim Murray was talking about George McPhee owing him a favor from a previous deal, this is the deal that he was talking about. Of course, Tim was fired before the expansion draft so the favor was never returned. Anyways, Buffalo got a decent young goaltender with a bit of upside in Neuvirth and they took on Rusty Klesla’s contract. Halak was a pending unrestricted free agent so he had to go because they didn’t want to lose him for nothing when he hit free agency. I never quite understood why they gave up a 3rd round pick here but I guess that was the price to get a quality young goaltender.
2015 1st Round Pick (STL) (25)
This was a deal that got quite a fair share of hate until Kane had a terrific season in 16-17. On paper, it looks like a lot to give up. But I’ll break it down for you here. Just about every Sabres fan was at wit’s end with Tyler Myers and he was probably going to be traded anyways if he wasn’t included in this trade. I consider Tyler Myers for Zach Bogosian a wash. And yes, Zach Bogosian has been a complete failure in Buffalo since he’s gotten here. But, it’s reasonable to think that if Tyler Myers wasn’t given a change of scenery, he’d just continue to play worse. Drew Stafford was going to be a free agent and Buffalo wasn’t going to go forward with him. Reports came out that Brendan Lemieux had no desire to sign an ELC with the Sabres. Joel Armia and the 2015 1st that turned out to be Jack Roslovic are the main pieces to this trade for Winnipeg as far as I’m concerned. Armia isn’t going to live up to his draft status as a 1st round pick but he’ll be a nice 3rd line player for the Jets for years to come. And the 1st round pick, you have to give up something to get something and some fans for some reason just can’t wrap their brain around that. Kane’s future in Buffalo is still up in the air. No doubt he’s a very good young player but, there’s a decision to make for Jason Botterill. Do they extend him, trade him, or just hold onto him and wait to see what happens? This deal is looking pretty good for Buffalo at the moment.
2017 2nd Round Pick (54)
Stewart had to go no questions asked. At the time of this trade, the Sabres were in a race for last place so they could have a shot at Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. A 2nd round pick is a good return for Chris Stewart but, it was rumored that Buffalo could’ve gotten quite a bit more for Stewart if they pulled the trigger on a trade earlier in the season. There were rumblings that Buffalo could’ve gotten Bruins center, Ryan Spooner as well as a 2nd round pick for Stewart. Anyways, Buffalo drafted goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen who I consider as Buffalo’s goaltender of the future at this point in time. Stewart walked as a free agent at the conclusion of the 14-15 season and signed with the Anaheim Ducks. After a year in Anaheim, Stewart went back to Minnesota as a free agent.
2016 3rd Round Pick (64)
New York Islanders Acquire
Similar explanation to the Stewart trade here. Neuvirth HAD to go because he was stealing too many wins during the tank. Plus he was a pending UFA and it seems like he wasn’t interested in coming back. Johnson got hurt in practice shortly after the trade so he didn’t play for the Sabres that season. But, Johnson looked very good in Buffalo during the 2015-2016 season. Johnson walked as a free agent and played a season in his hometown of Calgary. Johnson came back to Buffalo during the offseason of 2017. Since Buffalo gave up a 3rd round pick to get Neuvirth from Washington, it’s nice that they were able to get a 3rd back for him in the Isles trade. Neuvirth didn’t sign an extension with the Islanders and he is now in the Flyers organization.
2016 3rd Round Pick (NYI) (64)
Unfortunately, at the time Buffalo hired Dan Bylsma they had to give the Penguins a 3rd round pick as compensation for hiring him. Since then that rule is gone and Dan Bylsma is no longer the Sabres head coach.
2015 2nd Round Pick (31)
Highway robbery by Tim Murray on this one. O’Reilly has arguably been Buffalo’s best player since he arrived here and Jamie McGinn put together a nice season in Buffalo before he was traded at the deadline. O’Reilly has already made the All-Star team and he could potentially be Buffalo’s next captain. Mikhail Grigorenko was a complete disappointment in Buffalo and by all accounts, he was disappointing in Colorado as well. The Avs didn’t even protect Grigo in the expansion draft and he signed a new deal in the KHL after not even receiving a qualifying offer by the Avs. Zadorov has had his ups and downs in Colorado but he was protected in the expansion draft and will most likely sign an extension with Colorado soon because he’s an RFA. There are always questions surrounding Russian players on if they’ll jump ship to the KHL and that’s a possibility Zadorov but I think he will stay in North America as of right now. J.T. Compher looks like he’ll be a good bottom 6 center for Colorado going forward. I think he’ll be the best player that Colorado will receive in this trade. The 31st pick would’ve been nice to keep as there were some good defensemen still on the board at that pick like Travis Dermott and Brandon Carlo. But of course, you have to give up something to get something and unfortunately, some Buffalo fans can’t comprehend that statement.
2016 3rd Round Pick (76)
Many Sabres fans didn’t agree with trading Jamie McGinn but it was probably necessary. We have no idea if Jamie was going to sign with Buffalo or not and Tim Murray always would bang on the I don’t want to lose a player for nothing drum. Buffalo probably dodged a bullet by not signing McGinn anyways. He regressed in Arizona this year and they didn’t even protect him in the expansion draft.
Rights to Jimmy Vesey
2016 3rd Round Pick (76)
One of the deals that Murray got the most hate for right here. I believe that making this deal was worth the gamble 100%. What are the odds that the player that they’d select with that 3rd round pick would even become an NHL player? Slim to none to say the least. And Buffalo had 4 yes 4 3rd round picks going into the 2016 Draft. Vesey, of course, didn’t opt to sign with Buffalo and he signed an ELC with the New York Rangers last August.
Vegas won’t select Linus Ullmark
2016 6th Round Pick
Jason Botterill valued Linus Ullmark more than Will Carrier judging by this move. I was a pretty big fan of Carrier but I don’t think anyone should lose sleep over losing this player.
Clearly, the Buffalo Sabres are still reaping the benefits of the great trade that Darcy Regier made over 10 years ago.
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