In case you missed it yesterday, the Minnesota Wild and Buffalo Sabres pulled off a major trade with veteran Eric Staal heading to Buffalo in exchange for Marcus Johansson.
News of the trade came as a shock to most of those in the hockey world, but no one was more shocked than Staal himself, reports Michael Russo of The Athletic.
Check it out:
Not to sound like a jerk, but what’s even more shocking to me is that fact that Staal didn’t have the Sabres on his 10 team “no-trade” list. No offense to Sabres fans, but they’re team hasn’t exactly been a destination for veteran players for nearly a decade now.
What’s maybe more shocking though is that according to NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, Staal has turned down “multiple trade ideas” in the past two seasons, including a potential deal that would have sent him to the Boston Bruins.
Check out this tidbit from Friedman’s most recent 31 Thoughts column for Sportsnet:
It was a smart move by Buffalo, although Staal, who is building a retirement home in Minnesota, was completely caught by surprise — and disappointed he found out when his phone blew up. (In case anyone was worried he wouldn’t report, I’m told that’s not happening — he’s going to play.) The Sabres were not on his 10-team no-trade list, I think, because he didn’t expect them to be a pursuer. Staal turned down multiple trade ideas in the past two seasons (Boston was one), all from contenders. Buffalo didn’t fit the mold of teams eying him, but he’s exactly what the Sabres need. A No. 2 centre and some support for Jack Eichel, who can’t be thrilled with reports of a $70-million payroll. Buffalo is also investigating upgrading its goalie options.
Interesting. We obviously have no knowledge of what a potential deal for Staal between the Bruins and Wild could have looked like, but I’m intrigued by the February, 2019 trade between the two teams that ended up with Charlie Coyle landing in Boston. Coyle was traded from the Wild to the Bruins in exchange for Ryan Donato and a 5th round pick and I wonder if the two sides didn’t initially begin discussing Staal rather than Coyle as part of this deal. Then again, Coyle’s name had been in trade rumours for months at that point so maybe there’s no correlation.
It’s also worth noting that the Bruins picked up forwards Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie from the Anaheim Ducks at this past season’s trade deadline. Was Staal in their sights at the same time?