Eric Staal to the Canadiens

by | Mar 26, 2021 | News, NHL, Rumors | 11 comments

The Montreal Canadiens have acquired center Eric Staal from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. The Sabres also retain $1.625 million of Staal’s salary.

The Montreal Canadiens acquire Eric Staal from the Buffalo Sabres (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens needed some experienced depth at center. The 36-year-old Staal’s best seasons are behind him but he could still contribute offensively and in the faceoff circle. Staal has only 10 points in 32 games this season on a terrible Sabres club but tallied 47 points in 68 games in 2019-20 with the Minnesota Wild.

Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin yesterday told the press he probably wouldn’t be busy in the trade market because of his team’s limited salary-cap space and the 14-day quarantine for American players traveling into Canada. He may have been changed in mind because of the report the Canadian government is reducing that quarantine period to seven days. Staal can suit up with the Habs in a week’s time.

The Sabres picking up half of Staal’s cap hit also helps. Cap Friendly indicates it leaves the Canadiens with over $822K in trade deadline cap room. If Bergevin wants to make another move, perhaps for a left-side defenseman, he might have to ship out the salary of a little-used player packaged with a draft pick.

As for the Sabres, this is probably just the first of several players who could be on the move before the trade deadline. Pending UFAs such as Taylor Hall and Brandon Montour could also soon be shipped out for draft picks.


  1. Hi Lyle

    Tried posting twice re Staal on Rumours side

    Wouldn’t show??

    I’ll try again here

    • Lyle,

      Bergevin didn’t “change his mind”!

      One of the (few) things I like about this guy is that he never telegraphs where he’s going.

      As to the Cap space left, this is not even close to being an issue.

      Because all the Habs have to do is put Chiarot on LTIR (he’s not due back for another 4-5 weeks anyway) and all that Cap space becomes available.

      Exactly as TB did with Kucherov.

      There’s more than enough there to land a D.

      Habs needed a C and an LD/RD.

      Staal was exactly the C I had hoped for.

      Brandon Montour is the D I would be looking at.

      • rattus, my comment about Bergevin changing his mind was tongue-in-cheek. Next time, I’ll use a winky-face emoji…;)

      • I was hoping for the left D but the more I think about it, the more I can see this. Here’s hoping!

      • No worries Lyle everyone else realized it was tongue-in-cheek

    • The comments both appeared in the Rumors section, Pengy.

      • Ya saw that after

        Cheers and many thanks Lyle


  2. Was the move of the decade maybe not trade Price and Weber for future than I will clap.

  3. 10 points and minus 20 in 36 games lol a 3rd was a bit high. Every game I saw him n he was non existent. Is there a chance he turns it around sure but there’s more that he won’t way past his prime especially his leadership. Being a Bruins fan I like it this trade as I don’t believe it makes them better

  4. As a die-hard Habs fan, I probably see this in a bias favorable light than most as a great depth move for the Habs.

    They will likely not use him as a top line center, unless dictated by injuries &/or Covid.

    He can play the PP, the PK, gives the Habs now four centermen in rotation that can give four every game solid lines.

    I believe Bergevin is gambling that as this condensed season proceeds, four lines of depth is going to be more important than two highly skill lines of in the playoffs. Adding experience never hurts.

    Evans now moves into the number five position & has shown to be capable of filling the number four position when required, but still needs more seasoning to be an every game number four who could grow into a solid number in time.

    As Byron was the next option at center, I believed that this position required more shoring up than the D did. With Chariot returning before the playoffs & Mette, Ouellet & Fleury capable of filling in for short term spurts, the center position was far more vulnerable than D IMHO.

    A fourth line of Staal/Byron/Perry isn’t exactly the worst fourth line the North Division. Nor would he look out of place with any combination of wingers including, Toffolli, Armia, Lehkonen, Tatar or Gallagher.

    • The Buffalo dumpster fire has deflated the stats of all the players OR they all declined at the same time.

      Staal was 6th in scoring, 6th in goals
      Eichel and Hall have only 2 goals each.

      He may just be a pleasant surprise like Corey Perry, protected minutes playing to his strengths (big body with soft hands).

      Playoffs are made for role players