The Florida Panthers have acquired defenseman Brandon Montour from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a 2021 3rd round pick.
The Panthers have been in the market for a defenseman since Aaron Ekblad went down with a season ending injury. Montour is also a right-handed defender, but is not close to being on the same level as Ekblad. He was a good puck moving player for the Ducks, but really fell of when acquired by the Sabres a bit over two years ago. He has a -4.9 GAR and a 44.67 xGF% right now, which is not NHL caliber. He can move the puck and contribute offensively, and is an upgrade over Brady Keeper and Matt Kiersted, the latter of which just debuted after four seasons at the University of North Dakota. Montour may not even be better than Gustav Forsling, who has been a solid depth option for Florida this year. He looks to be a pure rental, with an expiring contract on a $3.85 million cap hit. Florida uses the cap space that they cleared when they traded Brett Connolly to Chicago.
Montour, who will turn 27 tomorrow, has scored five goals with nine assists for 14 points in 38 games for the Sabres in 2020-21. In his NHL career for Buffalo and the Anaheim Ducks, Montour has scored 29 goals with 76 assists for 105 points in 281 games.
No Sabre has played more minutes than Montour this year, and Buffalo will thank him for that. But it also is not a great look when you are playing the most minutes on the league\’s worst team. Montour has struggled with the Sabres, so a third round pick is a nice return. It gets better when you consider that Eric Staal barely netted that, and Taylor Hall may not get much more.