On the market for a goaltender to back up Robin Lehner, the Sabres acquired Anders Nilsson in a trade with St. Louis Saturday night in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2017 draft.
Nilsson, 26, fits general manager Tim Murray's criteria for large goalies. The 6-foot-5, 229-pounder combined to play in 29 games during the 2015-16 season between the Blues and Edmonton, posting a 10-13-3 record with a .901 save percentage and a 3.12 goals-against average. He spent most of the year as Cam Talbot's backup with the Oilers, going 10-12-2, .901 and 3.14.
Nilsson has similarly pedestrian career numbers as well in 52 NHL games (19-22-4, 3.09, .900). He was drafted by the New York Islanders in the round in 2009 and has won bronze medals for Sweden twice in the 2014 World Championships and 2010 World Junior Championships.
Nilsson, who had accepted a qualifying offer from St. Louis, has signed a one-year deal with the Sabres for $1 million. He became expendable when the Blues signed Nashville's Carter Hutton Friday on the opening day of free agency to back up Jake Allen.
Nilsson will ostensibly battle Linus Ullmark for the right to play behind Lehner or be the No. 1 goaltender in Rochester. The Sabres lost Chad Johnson to free agency Friday, when he signed a one-year deal with Calgary, and Murray was aggravated when former Pittsburgh netminder Jeff Zatkoff reneged on an agreed-upon deal and then signed with Los Angeles.
The Sabres also confirmed TSN's information from earlier in the day that they have signed center Derek Grant to a one-year, two-way contract. Grant spent monst of his time last year with Calgary's AHL team in Stockton, Calif., collecting 27 goals and 45 points in 36 games. He has no goals and three assists in 40 NHL games with the Flames and Ottawa Senators.
Grant was drafted by Ottawa in the fourth round in 2008 and is very familiar to Murray because of his career in Binghamton when the Sabres' GM was in charge of the Ottawa farm club.