Sabres Trade O’Reilly to the Blues

by | Jul 1, 2018 | News, NHL, Rumors | 17 comments

The Buffalo Sabres have traded center Ryan O’Reilly to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for forward Vladimir Sobotka, Patrik Berglund and Tage Thompson, plus a first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and a second-rounder in 2021.

The Buffalo Sabres trade center Ryan O’Reilly to the St. Louis Blues (Photo via NHL Images

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues get themselves one of the best two-way centers in the league. The Sabres get a return that helps them now and for the future.

The Blues had already taken steps to bolster their depth at forward via free agency today by bringing back left wing David Perron and signing center Tyler Bozak. They now have O’Reilly, Bozak and Brayden Schenn at center, with promising Robert Thomas waiting in the wings. In one day, they’ve turned a weakness into a strength.

O’Reilly, 27, plays well at both ends of the ice and has exceeded 50 points in six of the last seven seasons. The former Lady Byng Trophy winner can also play on the power-play or penalty kill. He should be a welcome addition to a Blues team trying to get back into Cup contender status following a disappointing 2017-18 performance. 

Sobotka and Berglund should provide some much-needed veteran depth to the Sabres’ checking lines. The 31-year-old Sobotka is a hardworking defensive forward. Berglund,30, can play center or either wing and has decent offensive skills, though he does have an injury history.

Thompson,20, could become part of the Sabres’ long-term future. He made his NHL debut last season, tallying just nine points in 41 games. A promising young winger with good size (6’5″, 215 pounds) and offensive potential, Thompson could get an opportunity to shine in Buffalo. 

Even though the Blues take on O’Reilly’s $7.5-million annual cap hit, by shedding the combined salaries of Berglund, Sobotka and Thompson, they actually save $775K in cap space. They now have just over $71 million invested in 18 players for 2018-19. 



  1. Yuck. Buffalo must have really wanted him gone. To take Berglund and Sobotka back and still only get face value.

    • They really did not want to pay that bonus after those comments. Hearing him speak after being traded…you would swear Doug saved his life.

  2. Short term, the Blues won this one. Long term, it could be a win-win. We’ll have to see how those picks work out and how Thompson works out.

  3. Haven’t seen it reported anywhere, so I’ll mention it. The Blue Jackets signed Riley Nash, yesterday. This solves the Jackets’ weakest position, center. Now, Torts can move Dubinsky to a wing, as his age and playing style has reduced his effectiveness at center, while letting Nash, Sedlak and Abromov fight for the 3rd and 4th line center positions. Nash’s strength on the PK also helps strengthen a Jackets’ weakness. Typical Jarmo, low key moves that improve the team.

  4. I’m a Sabres fan and I’m not happy with this trade, instead of getting faster and younger we get older. Tage Thompson can’t skate and we picked up two salary dump players age 30-31. 4 years Berglund is signed. Hopefully our GM can use the draft picks we received to select some good players, we will know in about 5 years if the trade was good.

    • Bergie, is one of the best locker room guys that St. Louis has had in 20 years. He has be hovering around 20 goals for a couple of years playing a 3rd line role and with little PP time. Buffalo got a good vet with this deal. Tarasenko and Schwartz give Berglund a ton of credit for mentoring them when they came into the league. A lot of people dont realize that over the past 3 years Berglund is 3rd on the Blues in Goals. He is not ROR but Buffalo got a good player here. Sobotka is a shell of his former self. If he is not playing a Top 6 role then his attitude is terrible. Guy was useful before he went over the the KHL, now he is an overpaid 4th line player.

      • Berglund is dead weight! He would make a good boat anchor. I couldn’t believe the Blues resigned him on the last contract. He’s fragile, plays like he’s 5’8″ and 120#, won’t go to the net and loves empty net goals (which always help when you look at points!). He can serve coffee and doughnuts at every intermission and be the best guy in the room which would make him a great guy but NOT a good player! He would be a great team mascot. THANK YOU Buffalo for taking Bergland – we’re eternally grateful!

  5. Botterill trades a #2/1B center for the Blues scraps and a couple of picks. Is it any wondervwhy the Sabres are bottom feeders every single year?

    Blues not only add a decent player, but save money against the cap doing it.

    Good luck in the lottery next year Buffalo.

    Brutal, just bloody awful.

  6. How Montreal couldn’t have beaten this is beyond me. I can’t only think (hope) that Buffalo didn’t want to trade in the division and thus the price was higher.

    • can* only

      • Word is Botterill wanted three first round picks from the Canadiens. Can’t fault Bergevin for not doing that deal!

      • Buf wanted 3 picks from Mon if true as what prospects & or solid NHL depth is Mon going to send Buf, they have very little.

        People can say what they want but this trade but it is actually a good trade for both teams. Sobotka & Berglund provide much-needed depth. Both are really 3rd line players but can play 2nd line minutes in a pinch. Both are solid defensively can play wing or C & have decent contracts. Tage Thompson is a solid playing prospect & Buf got a 1st, 4th & StL picked up the signing bonus.

        Buf was dressing AHL players last season. These 3 players will help Buf significantly. Not hard to do when you have been the worst team in the NHL for a very long time both in wins & goal scoring.

        You also had the rumour that ROR & Eichel were on completely different pages causing a division in the dressing room. Eichel had already been handed the keys to this team when ownership cleaned house to appease him so ROR had to go.

        Buf is a far better team today than prior to this trade as they needed more quantity NHL talent than ROR.

  7. Lyle,

    Sabres likely wanted the extra picks from Montreal because their roster has few players with any trade value. I excluded Patches as he is ufa after next season and to make an OReilly deal may have required a sign and trade.
    I do agree 3 first rounders is excessive.

    • We don’t often agree Ron but I do with you here fully.

      • Ya, sums it up pretty good. The problem is Botterill was boxed in as he wasn’t going to start next season with ROR, so had to take the best offer he could get. If he waits until training camp teams rosters are more or less set, and cap space spent. It had to be now. I highly doubt he took a better one and tossed it in the garbage.

  8. my thoughts on the Sabres trade….

    1. I understand Betglund was likely coming back to balance out salary.

    2. Thompson was a former 1st round pick. I don’t know much about him. One preference I had was the prospect gotten be exempt from a 202 expansion draft

    3. to fully measurw this trade would be to see what happens with Sobotka and Berglund and if they get traded and for what in the future.

    roughly ROR= Zadrovo a former #16, Compher a high 2nd, and pick at 31
    Grigorenko and McGinn kind of wash out.

    the 2019 `st is likely 13-20. that + 2nd could possibly equal a player like Zadorov based on where picked
    Compher is loosely equivalwnt to Compher based on where drafted
    Qhat does buffalo get for Bergland and Sobotka over the years.

  9. Raw skill, it’s a win for STL. Berglund is supposedly possessed of the “right” personality. Maybe he helps turn the corner on Buffalo’s disappointing culture. Based on earlier reports, isn’t that why Buffalo came to move their captain in the first place?