SUNRISE, Fla. – Moments before picking Jack Eichel, the Sabres added another center with superstar potential.
Buffalo completed a blockbuster Friday night, acquiring Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn from Colorado in exchange for center Mikhail Grigorenko, defenseman Nikita Zadorov, prospect J.T. Compher and the 31st pick in the NHL Draft.
O’Reilly is undoubtedly the centerpiece of the deal. The 24-year-old is carving a reputation as one of the best two-way centers in the NHL. He had 17 goals and 55 points in 82 games this year. He won the Lady Byng Award as most gentlemanly player in 2013-14, when he had 28 goals and 64 points.
He was on the block by the Avalanche because they don’t think they can sign him long term. He is entering the final season of two-year, $12 million deal and will be an unrestricted free agent.
McGinn is a 26-year-old left winger who has 69 goals and 128 points in 366 games.
Grigorenko, who didn’t figure into the Sabres’ long-term plans with Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart and Zemgus Girgensons ahead of him on the depth chart, is reunited with his former junior coach, Patrick Roy.
Zadorov, drafted 16th overall in 2013, has top-pair potential but ran afoul of the Sabres with youthful mistakes this season.
Compher is a two-way forward at Michigan.