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Old 15-08-18, 03:31
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Still stung by the Blues missing the playoffs for the first time in six seasons Dan Bailey Cowboys Jersey , general manager Doug Armstrong capped a major roster overhaul on the first day of the NHL’s free-agency period by acquiring center Ryan O’Reilly in a multiplayer trade with the Buffalo Sabres.

Aside from landing a nine-year veteran in O’Reilly on Sunday, St. Louis committed $31 million in salary to sign forwards David Perron and center Tyler Bozak to multiyear contracts.

”Once you miss the playoffs, change has to happen,” Armstrong said. ”We’re a non-playoff team for the first time in a number of years and it doesn’t sit well with the St. Louis Blues organization, and certainly the fan base.”

Making drastic changes was also the theme in Buffalo, where general manager Jason Botterill continued shuffling the under-performing roster of a team that finished last in the standings for the third time in five years.

”We had to change the dynamic,” Botterill said. ”The bottom line was there’s a lot of great people in that locker room, but when you finish 31st, you have to look to make changes.”

The Sabres added experience to a young roster by acquiring veterans forwards Vladimir Sobotka and Patrik Berglund. They also acquired forward Tage Thompson, a 2016 first-round draft pick, who had three goals and six assists in 41 games as an NHL rookie this season last year. Buffalo rounded out its haul by adding a conditional first-round draft pick next year and a second-rounder in 2021.

The Blues also agreed to pay O’Reilly the $7.5 million contract bonus he was due by the end of the day. Botterill said the price for O’Reilly would have gone up once the Sabres were put in a position to pay the bonus.

Berglund, a former first-round draft pick, has 168 goals and 322 points in 694 games over a 10-year career in St. Louis. Sobotka is a defensive forward Cheap Ronald Jones II Jersey , who has 47 goals and 155 points in 463 career games over nine seasons.

The trade continues a busy stretch in Botterill’s rebuilding plans.

Aside from selecting 18-year-old Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin with the No. 1 pick in the draft last month, he also acquired play-making forward Conor Sheary in a trade with Pittsburgh last week. The Sabres addressed their goaltending needs by signing former Blues backup Carter Hutton to a three-year, $8.25 million deal Sunday.

Hutton will share the starting duties with Linus Ullmark, who is pegged to make the jump to Buffalo after three seasons in the minors.

O’Reilly was expendable because he was one of the few assets the Sabres could trade. And he also caused a stir during an end-of-season availability by suggesting there were times he had lost the passion for hockey and that a losing culture had crept into the locker room.

Armstrong is confident a change of scenery will help O’Reilly.

”I’ve certainly been guilty of saying things I was thinking and wishing I didn’t say them. He probably would add that to the list of things he wishes he could’ve kept internal,” said Armstrong, who is familiar with O’Reilly during the time they’ve spent together as part of Canada’s national team at international tournaments.

”He’s got great passion for the sport. He’s got great passion to compete and win,” he added. ”And hopefully, this gives him the boost that he feels is necessary that he can come in here. And quite honestly, we need that boost.”

O’Reilly completed his third season in Buffalo since being acquired in a trade with Colorado, after which the Sabres signed him to a seven-year, $52.5 million contract. He’s one of the league’s most dependable two-way forwards, and set the NHL record by winning 1,273 faceoffs last year.

Perron returns to St. Louis for the third time in his NHL career after signing for $16 million over four years. He spent last season in Las Vegas Ty Montgomery Packers Jersey , where he set career highs with 50 assists and 66 points. Bozak, who signed a three-year, $15 million deal with St. Louis, spent his first nine seasons in Toronto, where he scored 136 goals and 365 points in 594 games.

”You bring in Ryan O’Reilly, and you bring in Perron and Bozak, experience players, I think it just makes you better,” Armstrong said.

Notes: Buffalo signed goalie Scott Wedgewood, who is expected to take over the starting duties in the minors. … Forward Scott Wilson returned to Buffalo by signing a two-year, $2.1 million contract. … The Sabres also signed defenseman Brandon Hickey to a two-year entry-level contract. Hickey completed his senior season at Boston University, and was acquired by Buffalo in trade with Arizona last month.



Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane is keeping his options open and intends to take his time determining whether quarterback Tyrod Taylor will return for a fourth season.

”We’re going to make the best decision. I’m literally going to go back and watch how he played at the beginning of the year, how he played in the middle of the year and how he played in the end. We’ll see Uchenna Nwosu Chargers Jersey ,” Beane said Tuesday after he and coach Sean McDermott held an end-of-season news conference.

”We’re going to take our time and make an informed decision,” Beane added. ”The easy thing to do is go off the last game. And that’s not fair.”

He was referring to Taylor overseeing a pedestrian offensive attack Sunday in a 10-3 loss at Jacksonville in an AFC wild-card playoff. Taylor went 17 of 37 for 134 yards and an interception before being forced out of the game after suffering a concussion on Buffalo’s final possession.

His production against Jacksonville reflected an inconsistent season for the third-year starter, who has a 23-21 record in Buffalo.

The low point came when Taylor was benched in favor of rookie fifth-round draft pick Nathan Peterman in a 54-24 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 19. McDermott called the decision a ”calculated risk,” which quickly backfired when Peterman threw five interceptions in the first half, leaving the Bills no choice but to return to Taylor.

Beane said Taylor doesn’t deserve all the blame for an offense that finished 29th in the NFL in yards gained, and scored just eight touchdowns over the final seven games, including the postseason.

But make no mistake, the first-year general manager said, it’s incumbent on him to get the Bills a franchise quarterback.

”I said that back when I got here,” Beane said. ”It’s a quarterback league. Where you get it, I really don’t care. If you give me one, whether he’s on the street now, whether he’s a free agent Darius Leonard Colts Jersey , whether I draft him, I’ll take him anywhere.”

That leaves Taylor’s future in question despite him being Buffalo’s first quarterback since Rob Johnson in 2000 to start a Bills playoff game.

The Bills were ready to move on from Taylor in March before he agreed to restructure his contact by reducing it from a five-year to two-year term.

Beane said Buffalo has enough assets – two picks in each of the first two rounds of the draft – to move up and address any position of need, including quarterback.

On the other hand, he said, the Bills could comfortably afford retaining Taylor for the final year of his contract, which includes a $6 million bonus in mid-March and the $18 million hit his deal would count against the salary cap.

Whatever euphoria remained from the Bills exceeding expectations by finishing 9-7 and ending a 17-season playoff drought gave way Tuesday to the challenges Beane and McDermott face in continuing a rebuilding process that began a year ago.

”I thought we (grew) faster than I thought,” Beane said. ”But we have a long way to go, we really do.”

McDermott deflected questions on whether he’ll consider changes to his coaching staff, particularly offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. ”This is early in the process right now, and I’m not going to get into speculation,” he said.

Beane seemed open to re-signing defensive tackle Kyle Williams. The 12-year veteran completed the final year of his contract and hasn’t determined whether he’ll retire. Beane said he had a good conversation with Williams on Monday but wants to give him time to think before opening contract talks.

”Who doesn’t love Kyle Williams?” Beane said, referring to the team’s most respected leader. ”We’d definitely love to have Kyle back.”



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