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Sabres trade for Boychuk’s contract after moving Eichel

Pro Hockey Talk's Sean Leahy breaks down the return Buffalo is receiving from Vegas for Jack Eichel and what the timeline looks like for his return after he undergoes the desired artificial disk replacement surgery.

After trading Jack Eichel to the Golden Knights, the Buffalo Sabres made another move to make all the money work. The Islanders sent Johnny Boychuk’s contract to the Sabres for the fabled “future considerations” on Thursday.

There’s no wink-wink here about Boychuk playing for the Sabres. He retired in 2020.

Boychuk trade subtly benefits both Islanders and Sabres

This is ultimately about the Sabres gaining some salary cap flexibility after moving out Eichel ($10M cap hit) for a package that included Alex Tuch ($4.75M). Sabres GM Kevyn Adams admitted as much in the team statement.

“This move is important because it gives us flexibility throughout the season from a roster perspective,” Adams said.

“There are different conversations that we’ve had with many teams. The key for us was to give us flexibility without compromising where our current roster stands.”

Cap Friendly notes that, technically, the Sabres were already at the cap floor after the Eichel trade. It just wasn’t by much, so Boychuk’s cap hit ($6M) does wonders. Buffalo won’t be paying out much in actual money:

The trade helps the Islanders, too -- and not just via nebulous “future considerations.”

Cap Friendly notes that the Islanders have about $2M in cap space after trading Boychuk’s contract. By the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline, the Islanders could accrue the equivalent of about $10M in cap space. Could come in handy for a team that’s been aggressive during recent trade deadlines.

A sensible trade for both sides. It’s not clear if one can say the same about the Sabres’ takeaway from the Eichel trade. Ultimately, it may boil down to how well the Sabres move on, ideally making this rebuild better than the last one.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.