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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Slipping Sabres ship D-man Leopold to Blues for picks

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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The underachieving Buffalo Sabres began retooling for the future by trading defenceman Jordan Leopold to the contending St. Louis Blues on Saturday.

The move was announced hours before Buffalo hosted the Washington Capitals. It could be the first of many for the Sabres before the NHL trade deadline Wednesday.

In exchange for Leopold, Buffalo gets a second-round pick and a conditional fifth-round selection in June's draft.

Leopold is a 10-year NHL veteran who has spent the past three seasons in Buffalo. He has eight points in 24 games in the final year of his contract.

"He provides us with stability and experience back there," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said during a conference call. "He's a guy that's going to come in here and give us a good steady influence on our back end."

Leopold has 65 goals and 202 points in 610 career games for Calgary, Colorado, Florida, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. Leopold enjoyed his best season with Buffalo in 2010-11, when he reached career highs with 13 goals and 35 points.

The Blues (17-14-2) were in need of help after losing three in a row. They began the day in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, a point ahead of Dallas and Columbus.

"We feel a lot stronger. We feel our depth is much more improved as of 3 o'clock today than it was 3 o'clock yesterday," Armstrong said.

The Sabres (13-16-5) have been inconsistent in a season in which they've already fired coach Lindy Ruff. Buffalo is 3-1-1 in its past five, but began the day sitting 12th in the East.

The Sabres have traded away two defencemen this month, and general manager Darcy Regier has indicated he's interested in making trades to help the team beyond this season.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 31, 2013 B4

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