Sabres Trade Hannan to Avalanche, Khmylev to Blues
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) _ The Buffalo Sabres continued rebuilding right up to the trade deadline Wednesday by sending center Dave Hannan to Colorado and forward Yuri Khmylev to St. Louis.
Hannan, 34, was traded for a sixth-round draft choice in 1996 after his playing time with the Sabres was reduced considerably this season. He had six goals and 10 assists in 58 games before joining Colorado, a team hoping to make a run toward the Stanley Cup.
``It’s unbelievable to go to a team like that,″ Hannan said. ``Any athlete wants to play in the playoffs and do well. They showed some confidence in me by picking me up just before the deadline. Hopefully, I can help them out in their long road in the playoffs.″
He is best remembered for scoring the only goal in the NHL’s sixth longest playoff game, at 5:43 of the fourth overtime against New Jersey in the sixth game of the 1994 Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Khmylev, 31, went to the Blues for Ottawa’s second-round pick this year, owned by St. Louis, plus the Blues’ third-round pick in 1997 and defenseman Jean-Luc Grand Pierre.
The 6-foot-3, 207-pound Pierre has 13 goals, 21 assists and 209 penalty minutes in 67 games with Vald’or of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Pierre, 19, probably will not be ready for the NHL for several years.
Khmylev has been a disappointment the last two seasons and had been rumored to be on the trading block after he went nearly three months without a goal. He has eight goals and 20 assists in 66 games this year.
Khmylev is the second player sent from Buffalo to St. Louis within a 24-hour period beginning Tuesday, when veteran defenseman Charlie Huddy was dealt to the Blues for prospect Denis Hamel.
Buffalo has been stockpiling draft picks and prospects since it began rebuilding last season. Hannan and Khmylev are among eight players the Sabres have either traded or failed to re-sign since last year and represent the fourth and fifth players traded by Buffalo this season.
``The future looks good,″ Sabres general manager John Muckler said. ``What we’ve been trying to do is improve the skill level. The next step is making the playoffs.″
The trading deadline ended rumors about Buffalo dealing star center Pat LaFontaine or two-time Vezina Trophy winner Dominik Hasek. Muckler said he received no offers for either player.
The Sabres, who have virtually no chance of making the playoffs this season, are planning to play their young players over the remaining 12 games of the season. They recalled forward Brian Holzinger from Rocheste of the AHL after making the two trades.