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Sabres Make Confusing Trade

February 28, 2023, 4:42 AM ET [3406 Comments]
Hank Balling
Buffalo Sabres Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
General Manager Kevyn Adams made a trade with the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, and it’s definitely… a trade.

The Sabres acquired 24-year-old defenseman Riley Stillman in exchange for 2021 3rd round pick Josh Bloom. The 6’1” Stillman has largely occupied a depth role on the Vancouver Canucks this season after having played for the Blackhawks and Panthers over parts of the past two seasons.

Stillman, the son of Adams’ former Carolina teammate Cory Stillman, is largely known as a rugged, pugilistic defenseman due to his 13 career fights, which, to be fair, is a ton of fights for a 24-year-old considering the era he plays in. If you’re looking for offense, you’re not going to find much in his history as he has only 23 points in 140 games. If you’re looking for defense, you’re not going to find much in his history as he’s a career -20 and his evolving-hockey player card looks like this:

I’ll put it plainly: I don’t get this trade at all. Stillman – signed through next year at $1.35m, according to CapFriendly – has been benched recently due to a poor performance against Nashville and the Sabres decide to give a prospect for that? Yes, they needed a top-four defenseman, and yes, at the very least they needed an upgrade over Jacob Bryson and Kale Clague. Stillman is neither of those things.

Further, Stillman is a left-shot defenseman on a team with five left shot defensemen. The best thing I can say is that he’ll probably try to beat someone up.

All of this is made more confusing by the fact that Adams has said he doesn’t want to trade the future for the present by trading picks and prospects, which is exactly what he has done here, unless he thinks Stillman is going to be a big part of the Sabres future. If he is thinking that, he is on a fairly lonely island.

He seems to have completely missed the point that the Sabres don’t need another guy fighting for a 6th or 7th spot on the back end; they need an actual upgrade to properly slot someone like Henri Jokiharju on the third pair. Again, Stillman does not offer that. Maybe there’s more to come.

If not, this is a more depressing trade deadline than the year Darcy Regier acquired Bob Corkum.
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