BUFFALO – The Sabres traded defenseman Jordan Leopold to the St. Louis Blues this afternoon for draft picks, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported.
The 32-year-old, who was with Sabres this morning preparing for tonight’s game against the Washington Capitals, will become an unrestricted free agent following the season.
It was believed the Sabres would try to deal him before Wednesday’s trade deadline.
Leopold struggled much of the winter, even sitting as a healthy scratch before an injury sidelined him eight games.
When he was healed, interim Sabres coach Ron Rolston sat him an extra game. Leopold rebounded, though, and Rolston played him more than 20 minutes most games.
Leopold’s a deadline veteran, having been dished twice – from Colorado to Calgary in 2009 and from Florida to Pittsburgh a year later – late in the season.
“I’m not scared, no,” Leopold told the Times Herald on Friday about possibly being dealt. “I have a job to do day in, day out. Things that I can’t control, I’m not going to stress over. I just have to go out and perform and whatever happens happens.”
Switching teams can take its toll on a family, though.
“I look at it from a different perspective,” Leopold said. “I have three kids and a pregnant wife. I’m pretty settled here in Buffalo. I look at it as a family aspect. Playing the game of hockey is the same wherever you go. You just have to go out there and do your job. As far as my family, I have to look at them first. The noise, they tend to pay more attention to it than I do.
“I think it’s true with all sports. Sometimes it’s harder watching that it is playing. My family definitely gets affected by that.”
He added: “Those are the things people don’t see when you get traded, the family aspect of travel, the moving, long nights, early mornings – that kind of stuff, getting acquainted with your teammates, whatever it may be.
“Going forward, I’ve taken pride in being here in Buffalo and definitely been involved in the community. … I would like to have a future here. But we’ll see what happens.”
Rolston praised Leopold this morning, saying, “He’s really had a pretty solid, complete game right now.”
Update: The Sabres have officially announced the trade. The Blues sent a second- and fifth-round pick in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft for Leopold. Sabres general manager Darcy Regier will speak to the media at 6:45 p.m.
Check back later for much more!