The Sabres gave the Penguins a third-round pick for Dan Bylsma. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Draft pick Sabres sent Penguins for Bylsma keeps offer sheet options open

BUFFALO – The 2016 third-round pick the Sabres sent the Pittsburgh Penguins as compensation for coach Dan Bylsma briefly held up the team officially announcing the deal Thursday.

What happened?

General manager Tim Murray said assistant GM Mark Jakubowski alerted him the Sabres wouldn’t have the necessary picks to pursue restricted free agents with an offer sheet if they gave the Penguins their own selection. Teams must send their own picks as compensation if the other club doesn’t match an offer. The Sabres had four 2016 third-rounders before signing Bylsma.

The Sabres eventually sent the conditional pick they received in the Michal Neuvirth trade with the New York Islanders in March.

Of course, offer sheets are a “very small part of the game,” Murray said. Teams rarely target RFAs. Still, Murray, who’s “not kicking around the idea,” wanted to have that option this year.

“I asked Pittsburgh if we can keep our own third,” he said. “It’s like I say with trades and that, a lot of these things you have to plan for that aren’t going to happen. So why would we, I guess even if I’m 90 percent sure that we’re not going to ever do it or they don’t work, why would I take that option out of our hands?”

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