Montreal Canadiens acquire Eric Staal from Buffalo Sabres

As the team’s schedule is stalled, Marc Bergevin adds a centre.

The Montreal Canadiens have acquired centre Eric Staal from the Buffalo Sabres for a third round pick and fifth round pick in 2021.

Staal is in the final year of his contract that pays him $3.25 million. Buffalo is retaining $1.6 million of the salary for the rest of the year. He will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

Like most of the Sabres this season, Staal has struggled with three goals and seven assists in 32 games. The 36-year-old is coming off a season where he had 19 goals and 28 assists in 66 games with the Minnesota Wild.

He likely slots into the lineup as the fourth centre, as Jake Evans has cooled down from his great start to the season. There is also uncertainty surrounding Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who is on the NHL’s list of players who are ineligible due to COVID-19. The organization’s centre depth took a hit as Lukas Vejdemo is out for at least the next three games in the American Hockey League as well.

With the new regulations put in place, Staal will need to quarantine for seven days, which means he will miss two games assuming the schedule remains the same.

In 1272 NHL games, Staal has 439 goals and 592 assists (1031 points). He won a Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006.