MONTREAL — Jack Eichel’s blockbuster deal to Vegas earlier in the day spurred the Sabres’ second trade on Thursday, acquiring the rights to Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk for future considerations.
Boychuk, in the final season of a seven-year, $42 million deal, is in his second season of being on long-term injured reserve after a career-ending eye injury. The Sabres, with Boychuk’s $6 million cap charge, are still at an NHL-low $67.1 million in cap space used but remain above the $60.2 million cap floor.
They traded the injured Eichel and his $10 million cap hit through 2026 to Vegas along with a third-round pick for forwards Peyton Krebs and Alex Tuch, a first-round pick and a second-round pick.
The Islanders, now at $80.01 million, got under the $81.5 million cap ceiling, important for cap flexibility as president and general manager Lou Lamoriello looks ahead to the March 21 trade deadline. The Islanders were able to exceed the cap ceiling by Boychuk’s $6 million with him on LTIR.
"It really helps both teams," Lamoriello said. "Johnny has been involved with this 100%. He knows what the value is to us."
Boychuk remains in Edmonton with his family. Last season, he stayed on Long Island working with the Islanders both on the ice and as an assistant to Lamoriello.
"His children are in school," Lamoriello said. "As far as the future after this year, that’s really up to John. We’d certainly welcome him back with open arms in any capacity that he’d like to come."
Leo Komarov, in the final season of a four-year, $12 million deal, has yet to report to the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport after clearing waivers on Oct. 19 and being reassigned. Lamoriello said Komarov is rehabbing a minor injury.
"He will be going to Bridgeport in the very near future to play."