By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
No. 38: June 26, 2015 – The Sabres trade Nikita Zadorov, Mikhail Grigorenko, J.T. Compher and a second-round draft pick in 2015 to Colorado for Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn.
Ryan O’Reilly probably was Colorado’s best all-around player in 2014-15. He also was going to be an unrestricted free agent in 2016, and he supposedly wanted something like $64 million over eight years to stay in Denver.
Meanwhile, the Sabres already had added Jack Eichel to their roster that summer via the 2015 Entry Draft. General manager Tim Murray thought O’Reilly would be the perfect complement to Eichel’s game. That’s why the Sabres put together a good-sized package of young players to obtain O’Reilly. Then Buffalo signed him to a seven-year deal worth $52.5 million.
O’Reilly played as good as was advertised during three years in Buffalo before he was passed on to St. Louis (more on that one later). Nikita Zadorov was the best player to go to Colorado in the transaction, a young defenseman who is part of the team’s core. J.T. Compher has gotten better in his three years with the Avalanche. Mikhail Grigorenko was a disappointment in Buffalo and Denver, and signed as a free agent with CSKA Moscow in 2017.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)