BUFFALO – Sabres general manager Jason Botterill made his first player trade of the offseason today, sending a conditional 2019 fourth-round pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins for winger Conor Sheary and defenseman Matt Hunwick.
Botterill, of course, knows Sheary from his days as Pittsburgh’s associate GM.
The deal addresses two needs for the Sabres: scoring on the wing and defense depth. Expect Sheary to play on center Jack Eichel’s left side. The Penguins, meanwhile, cleared cap space.
Sheary, 26, is the big get in the deal. The UMass product has already scored 48 goals, 93 points and won two Stanley Cups in his 184-game career. He compiled 23 goals and 53 points in 61 outings in 2016-17, his first full NHL campaign.
Hunwick, 33, has played for five NHL teams since entering the league in 2007-08. The Michigan product has compiled 25 goals and 117 points in 521 games. He has also played for the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs.
“Conor has proven himself to be a reliable forward with an ability to come through in big games, whose playoff experience speaks for itself,” Botterill said in a statement. “Conor and Matt will bring a winning pedigree to our team, and we expect them both to complement our group very well.”
The pick the Sabres traded can become a third-rounder, according to TSN.
Sheary has two years with a $3 million cap hit left on his contract. Hunwick, meanwhile, has two years with a $2.25 million hit remaining.