BUFFALO – The Sabres reacquired old friend Henrik Tallinder this afternoon, sending low-level minor leaguer Riley Boychuk to the New Jersey Devils for the defenseman.
The 34-year-old Tallinder played 468 games over parts of eight seasons with the Sabres from 2001-10. The Swede signed a four-year, $13.5 million contract with the Devils three years ago.
Tallinder battled injuries after leaving, playing only 146 games in New Jersey and missing most of the Devils’ 2012 Stanley Cup run.
At his best, Tallinder’s a smooth, shutdown defender. He formed a dynamic duo with Tyler Myers throughout all of 2009-10, helping the rookie win the Calder Trophy and quickly become one of the NHL’s top defensemen.
Myers, it should be noted, has struggled and never been the same player since Tallinder left.
Tallinder has 26 goals and 134 points in 614 NHL games, including 468 with the Sabres, who originally drafted him 48th overall in 1997.
He has a $3.375 salary cap hit.
Boychuk, a winger the Sabres drafted 208th overall in 2010, spent last season in the CHL. Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello told the Newark Star-Ledger Boychuk won’t play for the big club next season.
“Absolutely not,” Lamoriello said. “He’s just a minor league player. It’s a contract we had to take back.”
But Lamoriello insisted the Devils made the move for more than cap space.
“We wanted to make room for the young players we have on defense,” he told the paper. “We just feel the young players we have … are ready, and Tally wasn’t used as much last year.”
Stay tuned for updates!