The Buffalo Sabres, on the lookout for a backup goaltender, finally found one in Anders Nilsson who they acquired Saturday afternoon in a trade with the St. Louis Blues. Going the other way was a fifth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
Nilsson was only briefly with the Blues organization, as they brought him at the trade deadline from the Edmonton Oilers.
The 26-year-old netminder spent most of the season backing up Cam Talbot for the Oilers. He appeared in 24 starts (26 games total) for the NHL club, posting a 10-12-2 record, a 0.901 save percentage and a dismal 3.14 goals against average.
Nilsson did appear in two AHL games for the Oilers’ affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors, with a 2.01 goals against average and a 0.935 save percentage.
With the Blues, his numbers slightly improved, though he only made three appearances, all in relief. He recorded a 0.909 save percentage and a 2.76 goals against average.
The Sabres had their backs against the wall, though, when Robin Lehner’s backup from last season, Chad Johnson elected to join the Calgary Flames yesterday during the beginning of free agency.
Their other backup, Linus Ullmark is just 22. While Ullmark did actually shoulder quite a few games while Lehner recovered from an injury that sidelined him for most of last season, he is expected to continue to develop his game in the AHL.
Still, Ullmark’s stats are promising – he started 20 games, with an 8-10-2 record, a 0.913 save percentage and a 2.60 goals against average.
Nilsson is currently a restricted free agent, so the Sabres still have to sign him to a contract this summer.