Buffalo Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill has returned to his Pittsburgh roots for his first big move of the offseason, acquiring winger Conor Sheary and Matt Hunwick from the Penguins in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2019.
Sheary, a former UMass standout, had 18 goals and 12 assists in 79 games for the Penguins last season. A two-time Stanley Cup winner, he had career highs in goals (23) and points (53) in 2016-17. He joined the Pens from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2016 and scored the overtime winning goal in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final against San Jose.
“Conor has proven himself to be a reliable forward with an ability to come through in big games, whose playoff experience speaks for itself,” Botterill said. “Conor and Matt will bring a winning pedigree to our team, and we expect them both to complement our group very well.”
Hunwick, 33, had four goals and six assists in 42 games for the Penguins last season, although he was hampered by injuries, including a concussion suffered in an October practice that cost him a month.
He has played 521 career games in the NHL, collecting 25 goals and 92 assists. Like Botterill, Hunwick was a four-year player at the University of Michigan. The Penguins were his fifth NHL team.
He was selected by Boston in the seventh round of the 2004 draft and played for Team USA in the 2004 World Junior Championship (gold medal) and the 2013 World Championship (bronze).
“I think Buffalo needs some speed on their back end,” Hunwick's agent, Peter Fish, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Obviously they’re going to get that with their first-round pick [Rasmus Dahlin]. Jason Botterill is a Michigan guy. He’s always known that Matt has been a good player. He’s got great character. I think they’re looking to help change that culture up there.”
Sheary has a $3 million cap hit for 2018-19 and 2019-20. Hunwick has a $2.25 million cap hit for each of the next two years.