The Buffalo Sabres have announced that Jordan Leopold has been traded to the St. Louis Blues for a 2nd round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, and a conditional 5th Round pick in 2013.
Leopold is in the final year of his contract and will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.
"He's obviously a good player, his contract is up at the end of the year and where we are as an organization it's an opportunity to get something that's more focused on the future," said Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier, "they were looking for defenseman and they identified Jordan and hopefully things work out there."
Leopold skated in 174 games for the Sabres over the past three seasons. The Golden Valley, MN native added two goals and six assists in 24 games this season and was a -6. Leopold was originally signed by Buffalo as an unrestricted free agent prior to the 2010-11 season.
The Blues, currently in eighth place in the Western Conference, acquired Leopold to help bolster their chances of making the playoffs.
"He provides us with stability and experience back there, he’s touched every aspect of Buffalo’s game," said Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong, "He’s second on the team in ice time for defense. he’s third in PK for defense, second on power play for defense. He’s a guy who’s going to come in here and give us a good steady influence on our back end."
If Leopold plays well in the Blues' push for the postseason then he may have a home next year in St. Louis. "The beauty of it is we’ll get a good look at him and he’ll get a good look at us," said Armstrong, "We’re hoping that he comes in and plays really well. He’s a 1980s birthday so he certainly has some miles left on the tires. If it’s a good fit, that’s something we’ll certainly look at."
With four days until the NHL trade deadling it was not a big surprise to the Sabres locker room that one of their own was sent packing.
"We are in a spot where we were not expected to be in and where we don’t want to be and yes, there’s going to be changes made and that’s just part of the business," said Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, "It's always a hard day when somebody that’s been in your group for a long time has to leave and it’s usually that the whole team feels responsible for it and yes, we lost a good friend to another team today."
Leopold was a vocal leader in the room and on the bench. When Tyler Myers refused to do the NHLPA responsibilities after Paul Gaustad was traded, it was Leopold that took the reins. "He’s a veteran player, he’s been around and has a lot of experience and he’s been a great guy to be around and to be with and as a group, we’re going to miss him," said Ehrhoff.
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