One year ago, the Buffalo Sabres tweeted this:
TRADE: We've acquired forwards Tage Thompson, Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Sobotka, a 1st-round pick in 2019, and a 2nd-round pick in 2021 in exchange for Ryan O’Reilly. pic.twitter.com/I84OOvhCFP— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) July 2, 2018
If you’d love a trip down a rabbit hole, read the comments. Please, read the comments. My favorite exchange is this one:
You literally know nothing about the players they acquired other than what you've read on stat sheets. pic.twitter.com/k48F7Bmj0F— Mike Monaghan (@lifewithmikey52) July 2, 2018
A year after the trade that caught most people off guard - and confused Blues fans, because the team got more than 5% better in a trade with Buffalo - I think it’s worthwhile to look at where both teams wound up.
Buffalo had 23 games, two goals, and two assists worth of Patrik Berglund, who did not handle the trade well. Vladimir Sobotka fared better, playing in 69 games and scoring five goals and eight assists. Tage Thompson had seven goals and five assists in 65 games.
Doug Armstrong unloaded three contracts onto the Sabres worth $3,500,000 (Sobotka), $925,000 (Thompson) and $3,850,000 for three more seasons (Berglund). In return, the Blues got a player who openly stated that his love of hockey was dead by virtue of having to play for the Sabres. The cap space evened out, as O’Reilly’s contract clocks in at $7,500,000 a season.
But what did the Blues get out of the trade - how worthwhile are the long term repercussions?
Let’s examine the evidence:
Who won the deal long term? The hockey world may never know.