BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The shake-up is starting in Buffalo, where Sabres general manager Jason Botterill began making moves in a bid to improve a vastly underperforming team on Monday.
High-priced and little-used veteran forward Matt Moulson was waived for the purpose of being demoted to the minors. And Botterill pulled off a trade by acquiring forward Scott Wilson from the Detroit Red Wings to add a role player with Stanley Cup-winning experience to his roster. In exchange, the Red Wings acquired Buffalo’s fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft for Wilson.
Moulson’s demotion, though not surprising, provided a jolt to a team in the midst of a 1-9-2 slump that’s dropped the Sabres into last place in the overall standings. Buffalo’s offense has all but evaporated after being shutout in a franchise-worst three consecutive games before finally scoring in a 5-1 loss at Pittsburgh on Saturday.
“With the position we’re in, we’ve got to make some difficult decisions about our team and our lineup,” coach Phil Housley told reporters before the team traveled to Colorado for a game on Tuesday.
Should Moulson clear waivers on Tuesday, he’ll be assigned to Buffalo’s American Hockey League affiliate in Rochester.
The 34-year-old Moulson has no points in 14 games and has been a healthy scratch in seven of past nine outings.
He’s an 11-year veteran who is in the fourth year of a $25 million contract. The demotion leaves Moulson’s long-term future with the Sabres uncertain, though he’s due to make $5 million next season.
Moulson’s departure caught several Sabres by surprise, including star center Jack Eichel, who roomed with the player and his family during his rookie season two years ago.
“I think more than anything, obviously, we’re not in a good spot as a team with where we are,” Eichel said of the message the move sent. “You obviously never want to see something to happen to somebody you’re so close to, but at the end of the…