BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Sabres continued their rebuilding effort Monday with a flurry of deadline day deals, moving four veterans set to become free agents when the season ends.
The last-place Sabres traded forwards Chris Stewart, Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn, and goalie Michal Neuvirth and received mostly draft picks as compensation.
“We are in 30th place. Our time is the future,” Sabres general manager Tim Murray said. “And we added assets for the future.”
Buffalo sent Mitchell and Flynn to Montreal in separate trades, receiving prospect forward Jack Nevins and a 2016 seventh-round draft pick for Mitchell and a 2016 fifth-round pick for Flynn.
Stewart was traded to Minnesota for a 2017 second-round pick.
Neuvirth was traded to the New York Islanders for goalie Chad Johnson and a 2016 third-round pick.
Buffalo has now traded two goalies this season after dealing Jhonas Enroth to Dallas last month.
Murray denied suggestions that the Sabres are tanking for the best possible draft position.
“We’ve got guys here who are going away at the end of the year,” Murray said. “So you can let them finish the year here and walk away for nothing. Or you can add something. ... When you are at the bottom, you trade out guys who can help other teams for future assets.”
The Sabres made their most significant move in advance of the deadline, acquiring left wing Evander Kane from Winnipeg in a seven-player deal on Feb. 11.
Buffalo received Kane, defenseman Zach Bogosian and college goaltender Jason Kasdorf in exchange for defenseman Tyler Myers, forwards Drew Stafford and Joel Armia, the rights to 2014 second-round pick Brendan Lemieux and Buffalo’s latest of three 2015 first-round picks.
The Sabres are now down to two goalies with limited NHL experience in Johnson and Anders Lindback, who was acquired in the Enroth trade. Both rank outside the top 70 in save percentage this season.
Johnson, 28, has an 8-8-1 record, a 3.08 goals-against average and a .889 save percentage in 19 appearances this season. Johnson has played in 56 games for the Rangers, Coyotes and Bruins since being drafted by Pittsburgh in the fifth round in 2006. He has one year left on his contract after this season.
Lindback has played in 95 games over the past five seasons. He is 2-8-0 this season with a 3.71 goals-against average and an .875 save percentage.
Neuvirth has a 6-17-3 record, a 2.99 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage in 27 appearances this season. He has been on a roll since the Enroth trade, compiling a 3-4-2 record with a 2.28 goals-against average and .938 save percentage since the All-Star break.
Murray also provided an update on the condition of Rochester Americans defenseman Mark Pysyk, who collapsed during a pickup basketball game Saturday at the team’s arena.
“He’s got a few more tests to get done, but it doesn’t seem, and thank God that it’s not, serious,” Murray said.