The Buffalo Sabres have moved to bolster their defensive corps, trading for minute-muncher Brandon Montour from the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.
Montour, 24, comes to the Sabres with five goals and 20 assists in 62 games this season, tops among Ducks d-men, while averaging 22:40 of ice time per night.
The move fills a need for a right-handed defenseman on the Sabres. The team had been leaning hard on Rasmus Ristolainen (nearly 25 minutes per night) and Zach Bogosian (close to 22). Montour is used to playing heavy minutes up and down the lineup, so it should ease some of the load off the two men in front of him. It appears Montour will slide into the team’s third pairing alongside Nathan Beaulieu.
“Brandon is a young, offensive-minded defenseman who can play the up-tempo style we are looking to play,” Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said. “He’s a right-shot defenseman that brings additional playoff experience to our club.”
The Ducks prospect defenseman Brendan Guhle, 21, and a conditional first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. The pick will come via either San Jose or St. Louis (Buffalo owns both of their first-round picks) and will be based on the final order in the first round. The Sabres will have the option of St. Louis’ pick if it’s between No. 20 and No. 31. =
“Brendan Guhle is an excellent skater who is ready to take the next step in his career,” Ducks general manager and interim head coach Bob Murray said in a release from the team. “Adding Guhle and a first-round pick is an important step as we retool our team moving forward. We also thank Brandon Montour for his efforts and wish him the best of luck in Buffalo.”
The Sabres sit six points back of the final wildcard in the Eastern Conference. They have one game in hand over the Carolina Hurricanes, who are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins on 72 points.
Montour has another year left on a two-year bridge deal that’s paying him just under $3.4 million per season. He will be a restricted free agent at the end of next season. He was a second-round pick by the Ducks in 2014.
Guhle, who was taken in the second round of the 2015 draft by the Sabres, has five assists in 23 games played with the club. He’s currently playing in the American Hockey League this season with Rochester Americans. There, he has five goals and 27 points in 50 games.
He was named an AHL all-star earlier this year.
It appears he could be in the Ducks lineup on Monday against the Vancouver Canucks.