We’ve got our first goalie-for-goalie swap of the trade deadline — Buffalo has sent the red-hot Michal Neuvirth to the New York Islanders in exchange for backup Chad Johnson and a third-round pick in 2016.
Neuvirth, 26, has played extremely well since taking over the Sabres’ No. 1 gig — following the trade of Jhonas Enroth to Dallas — posting a .938 save percentage in February. A pending UFA, he’ll now get the chance to split time with Jaroslav Halak as the Isles look to rest their No. 1 down the stretch, and potentially see some playoff action should Halak falter.
Johnson, 28, has also been very good in February — posting a.935 save percentage — and is signed for one more year at $1.3 million, giving Buffalo an affordable goaltending option for next season. That said, Johnson has struggled at times (as evident by his .889 save percentage and 3.08 GAA in ’14-15) and has never appeared in more than 27 games in a single season.
In an ironic twist, Neuvirth and Halak will now be teammates after they were traded for one another last year, in a flip involving Buffalo and Washington.