Montour traded to Panthers by Sabres for NHL Draft pick

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Brandon Montour was traded to the Florida Panthers by the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

Buffalo receives a third-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.

The defenseman, who turns 27 on Sunday, can become an unrestricted free agent after the season. He has scored 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 38 games this season. 

“Brandon is a capable and talented right-shot defenseman who will have an immediate impact on our club,” Panthers general manager Bill Zito said. “His two-way acumen and ability to play important minutes make him an exciting addition to the Panthers.”

[RELATED: NHL Trade Tracker]

The Panthers are without defenseman Aaron Ekblad because of a fractured left leg. He was expected to be out 12 weeks after having surgery March 29.

“It would be silly to say no (to acquiring a defenseman) because there’s a huge void,” Zito told NHL.com on Thursday. “I don’t think there are replacements on the market, so in that vein you could say no, but certainly trying to help buttress the team. Yeah, obviously you’re always listening and maybe I’m a little more attentive. But it’s hard. It’s hard to replace what [Ekblad] brings.”

Selected by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round (No. 55) of the 2014 NHL Draft, Montour has scored 105 points (29 goals, 76 assists) in 281 regular-season games with the Sabres and Ducks and eight assists in 21 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

“He was a lot of fun to be around,” Sabres coach Don Granato said of Montour. “He is competitive, brings a lot of energy, a lot of life. … We knew this was a possibility. Obviously his contract status and where we’re at, so no surprise for the players and the guys. Through this, Brandon was incredible … he was a true pro and is a true pro. Of course you don’t like losing guys like that but we all understand and it’s part of our game.”

Florida (26-11-4) is tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning for second in the eight-team Discover Central Division, one point behind the Carolina Hurricanes.

Buffalo (9-25-6) is in last in the eight-team MassMutual East Division, 24 points behind the fourth-place Boston Bruins. The top four teams in each of the four divisions qualify for the playoffs.

NHL.com independent correspondent Heather Engel contributed to this report

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