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Florida Panthers acquire Brandon Montour from Buffalo Sabres

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Third round pick in 2021 goes back the other way

Buffalo Sabres v Florida Panthers Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

It was announced Saturday that the Florida Panthers have acquired defenseman Brandon Montour from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a 2021 third-round pick.

He is a pending unrestricted free agent and his current cap hit is $3.875 million annually. With the news of Aaron Ekblad’s injury, it was inevitable that the Panthers would need to find a replacement to help with a potential deep playoff run.

The caveat here is that the Panthers had several right-shot defenseman to choose from on the market and they arguably chose the worst one available. He can also play on the left side so he does provide an element of flexibility.

This isn’t to say there is not a chance for Montour to flourish with the Panthers. This was a a decent buy low option and doesn’t necessarily carry any risk. He was a strong second-pairing defenseman with the Anaheim Ducks, so he has the capabilities to succeed in the right environment. However, with this being said, this is a reclamation project for the Cats and hopefully it works out, especially in one of their best seasons in franchise history.

There is no doubt that the Sabres bring the worst out of their players, even Jack Eichel is struggling and he’s a top ten center.

The 26-year-old defenseman (turning 27 tomorrow) has registered 5 goals, 9 assists, and 14 points in 38 games. In his career, he has produced 105 points in 281 games.

He holds a shot share (Corsi) of 46.17 percent and an expected goal share of 44.67 percent, both of which rank near the bottom on the Sabres. The argument that his numbers are poor because he is on the worst teams in the league really isn’t an argument as there are several on the team that have strong underlying numbers.

https://twitter.com/JFreshHockey/status/1380931852186361859

While his production in terms of points is fine, his underlying numbers are a cause for concern. He has had poor numbers for the several seasons now and hasn't been good on either end of the ice, specifically a defensive liability this season.

The other caveat is that Ekblad is one of the best transition defenseman in the league in terms of zone entries and shot contributions. One of his many qualities is his strong ability to enter the zone with a control of the puck. His transition game is a huge asset to the Panthers and they don’t get that from Montour who is poor in this regard and transition too.

It is unlikely he will be extended beyond this season.

There is no doubt this was a questionable acquisition, but there is potential for him to succeed with the Panthers and get his career back on track.