The History of Trades Between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres

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TORONTO – SEPTEMBER 21: Joe Nieuwendyk #25 of the Toronto Maple Leafs carries the puck as Alexei Zhitnik #44 of the Buffalo Sabres. (Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images/NHLI)

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres have barely made any trades in their history.

Just five trades have been completed between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Sabres since Buffalo joined the NHL in 1970. That’s an astonishingly low number, especially given they weren’t even in the same division from 1981 until 1998.

The first trade was made as the Sabres entered the NHL, then twenty years passed before a flurry of three trades in three years at the beginning of the 90s.

Another 16 years passed before the most recent trade occurred in 2009 at the trade deadline, which is where we are at today in the history of trades between these two franchises.

It’s been over 11 years since the last Sabres-Leafs trade and it doesn’t seem like there will be another anytime soon. Over their history together, it’s clear the two rarely talk trade, which includes the 17-year span when they didn’t compete in the same conference, let alone division.

Let’s jump into the short history of trades, beginning with the most recent deal.

The Most Recent Trade

Date: March 4, 2009
Leafs Acquire: 2009 2nd (Jesse Blacker)
Sabres Acquire: Dominic Moore

A waiver claim in the 2007-08 season, the Toronto Maple Leafs cashed in big on Dominic Moore at the 2009 Trade Deadline.

After a 17 point season in 2007-08, Moore burst out in 2008-09 with 41 points in 63 games with Toronto heading into the deadline. It was easily the best offensive season of his career to this point and would prove to be the highest in his career.

The Leafs were out of the playoff picture sitting at a 25-26-13 record and had no real reason to hold onto the pending unrestricted free agent. Moore and Toronto were also in contract negotiations and had failed to come to an agreement.

Buffalo was on the playoff bubble with a 32-25-7 record and heading into the deadline were looking to shake up the roster a bit. The Sabres had depth on the wings with Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek, Ales Kotalik, Drew Stafford, Clarke MacArthur, and Maxim Afinogenov, and wanted to add another option down the middle.

Earlier on deadline day, the Sabres sent Kotalik to Edmonton for a 2009 second-round pick. They then got their centre depth by flipping that pick to the Leafs for Moore.

While a notable deadline deal with Moore’s point totals at the time and a relatively high pick going back the other way, the trade ended up flopping for both teams.

Moore wasn’t nearly as effective in Buffalo as he was in Toronto. He saw his time on ice drop from 17:18 per game with the Leafs to 15:12 per game with the Sabres, scoring just four points in 18 games.

In addition, Buffalo went 9-7-2 after the trade and failed to make the playoffs, missing by two points.

As for the Leafs end of things, the second-round pick was used on Jesse Blacker, a low scoring defenceman out of the OHL.

Blacker was a miss of a draft pick, failing to progress any further than a top-four option in the AHL. The likes of Tomas Tatar and Tyson Barrie were selected in the next handful of picks as well.

He would never appear in a Maple Leafs uniform, being sent to Anaheim in 2013 in a package to acquire Peter Holland. Blacker would make one NHL game with the Ducks in 2014 and has gone on to a solid career in Europe, currently playing for top KHL team Barys Astana.

Overall, this once-promising deadline deal was a bust for both sides, with the Sabres failing to capitalize on their deadline swaps and Toronto missing on their extra second-round pick in a draft that had some solid talent available.

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