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Still stung by the Blues missing the playoffs for the first time in six seasons Authentic Baker Mayfield 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 Mike Gesicki Color Rush Jersey , 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, 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 Cheap Baker Mayfield Jersey , 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, 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 Arden Key Color Rush Jersey , 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.
When Markelle Fultz spent two days in Boston last June visiting the Celtics during the pre-draft process, it felt like home.
He walked the streets downtown and later found himself soaking up the history that clings to the championship banners swaying above the TD Garden court.
”It almost feels like I belong here,” Fultz said at the time.
It turned out to be nothing more than a field trip when the Celtics surprised many and passed on selecting Fultz with the No. 1 overall pick. They instead traded it to the 76ers for the third pick, which they used to grab Jayson Tatum, and a future first-round pick.
Right now it looks like a good move for Boston.
The Celtics have a 1-0 lead over Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Tatum has been a revelation on a team battered by injuries.
Tatum’s role first increased when Gordon Hayward went down with an ankle injury, then again following Kyrie Irving’s knee surgeries late in the season. Tatum has responded to every challenge, averaging 17 points Riley Sutter Capitals Jersey , five rebounds and three assists in his first postseason.
”I enjoy it,” Tatum said. ”I dreamed of having big moments and having a big role. That obviously came a lot sooner than I thought. I’m just trying to prove that I belong here.”
Fultz is not having nearly as much fun.
He has been reduced to a spectator after a down regular season that saw him go through shooting issues and miss 68 games with a shoulder injury. And this after having his shot dissected during the season.
But he insisted that he hasn’t let any of it frustrate him.
”It didn’t bother me really,” he told The Associated Press. ”I was just happy with the team’s success. That’s all I’m about.”
He finally returned for some game action during the final 10 games of the regular season. But it wasn’t until the final night of the season that he provided his best example to date of the potential that the Sixers spent so much capital to draft.
Fultz looked at ease for the first time in months when at 19 he became the youngest NBA player to record a triple-double, registering 13 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds in a win over Milwaukee.
Yet, while Boston is embracing Tatum, Fultz is still looking to make a meaningful postseason impact.
After playing 24 minutes over the first three games of the first round, Fultz was inactive in the final two games of the Miami series and didn’t play in the opener against the Celtics.
He isn’t only playing behind Rookie of the Year candidate Ben Simmons, but Fultz is also watching T.J. McConnell get minutes.
Sixers coach Brett Brown said the decision to sit Fultz hasn’t come without some second-guessing. He left room for the former Washington Huskies guard to make an appearance in this series.
”It’s my decision to go with T.J.,” Brown said. ”There are times that you for sure think about it. But to say (Fultz is) dead and buried, that’s not true. But I got a decision to make. And I’ve made a decision.
”It doesn’t mean it’s etched in stone. It’s always something you review and think about. And the care for Markelle Fultz and his future is always on my mind.”
Fultz said he’s ready to contribute in whatever way he’s asked.
”Anything for the team Cheap Saquon Barkley Jersey , I’m just here,” he said. ”Whenever I get an opportunity I’m just going out there and play my hardest.”
After the Celtics beat the Bucks in Game 7 to advance to the semifinals, Tatum was asked what he learned about himself playing in his first playoff series.
”I love what I do,” Tatum said. I love being out there. It’s fun.”
It’s a feeling that, for now at least, Fultz has only gotten in a small dose.
”For me, it’s all an opportunity,” Fultz said. ”When the coaches put me out there, that’s what I’m going to be ready for. Other than that, I’m on the sidelines cheering my teammates on.”
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