Riley Stillman has played 140 NHL games. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres acquire Riley Stillman in trade with Canucks

The Buffalo Sabres made a minor trade Monday night to beef up their defense depth, acquiring Riley Stillman from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for prospect Josh Bloom.

The 6-foot-1, 196-pound Stillman, 24, has played 140 NHL games, including 32 with the Canucks this season.

It was believed Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams planned to address his defense depth before Friday’s trade deadline.

Stillman’s arrival gives Buffalo 24 players, so it must make a move to reach the 23-man roster limit. They host the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at KeyBank Center following a day off Monday.

The Sabres, who are battling for their first playoff berth since 2011, have been moving Jacob Bryson and Kale Clague in and out of the lineup as the sixth and seventh defensemen.

The defense corps has mostly remained healthy over the past two months. Right now, NHL All-Star Rasmus Dahlin, who missed Sunday afternoon’s 7-4 win over the Washington Capitals, is day to day with an undisclosed injury.

The Sabres struggled mightily early in the season when Henri Jokiharju, Ilya Lyubushkin and Mattias Samuelsson were all injured. During Samuelsson’s 13-game absence, they lost eight straight games.

Stillman gives the Sabres six left-hand shots. He could be utilized on the third pair beside Lyubushkin, a righty.

The newcomer has compiled zero goals, five points, 23 penalty minutes and a minus-14 rating while averaging 16 minutes, 8 seconds of time per game this season. Since breaking into the NHL in 2018-19, he has recorded three goals, 23 points, 91 penalty minutes and a minus-20 rating. He has also played for the Florida Panthers and Chicago Blackhawks.

The 46.4 Corsi For percentage Stillman has registered this season ranks second-last among Sabres defensemen, trailing only Lyubushkin’s 46.2. Stillman had a 41.4 percent Corsi For last season.

He has one season left on the three-year, $4.05 million contract he signed in 2021.

The Panthers drafted Stillman in the fourth round, 114th overall, in 2016. Last year, when he played 52 games for Chicago, was his first full NHL season.

His father, Cory, a former forward, scored 278 goals and 727 points in 1,025 career NHL games. He won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004 and Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 when he was teammates with Adams.

In Bloom, 19, the Sabres traded a forward they drafted in the third round in 2021, 95th overall. He signed his entry-level contract last year following a 30-goal junior season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Saginaw Spirit.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Bloom has enjoyed another stellar OHL campaign, scoring 26 goals and 58 points in 59 games. He has compiled 19 goals and 42 points in 40 contests since the North Bay Battalion acquired him in a trade from Saginaw.

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