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Hockey

Ducks trade Brandon Montour to Sabres for a first-round pick and a prospect

Brandon Montour
Ducks defenseman Brandon Montour warms up before a game against the Minnesota Wild on Jan. 17.
(Jim Mone / Associated Press)

With the playoffs all but beyond their reach, the Ducks on Sunday launched their rebuilding process by trading defenseman Brandon Montour to the Buffalo Sabres for a first-round pick in this year’s draft and defense prospect Brendan Guhle, the club announced.

The pick the Ducks receive will be one of three first-round selections the Sabres had held. The Ducks will get the pick traded to Buffalo by San Jose, unless the first-round pick the Sabres acquired from St. Louis turns out to be 20th or later in the draft. In that case, the Ducks would get the better of the two picks.

In another move, the Ducks acquired defenseman Patrick Sieloff from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for left wing Brian Gibbons. Sieloff, a second-round selection of the Calgary Flames in 2012, has appeared in two NHL games and has played the 2018-19 season with Belleville (Ontario), Ottawa’s American Hockey League affiliate.

The NHL trading deadline will arrive at noon Pacific time Monday.

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“Brendan Guhle is an excellent skater who is ready to take the next step in his career,” Bob Murray, the Ducks’ general manager and interim head coach, said in a statement. “Adding Guhle and a first-round pick is an important step as we retool our team moving forward. We also thank Brandon Montour for his efforts and wish him the best of luck in Buffalo.”

Guhle, 21, has collected five assists in 23 games with Buffalo. He has spent most of this season with Rochester (N.Y.) of the AHL, where he has collected five goals and 27 points in 50 games and was an AHL All-Star. He was chosen in the second round and 51st overall by Buffalo in the 2015 draft.

Montour, a 2014 second-round draft choice by the Ducks, had made significant progress the last two seasons to win a regular job and he ranked third on the team in ice time this season with an average of 22 minutes 40 seconds per game. He’s an exceptionally smooth skater and he led the team’s defensemen in scoring with five goals and 25 points this season, but his defensive play was inconsistent and the Ducks are deep on defense.

The first-round pick will allow the Ducks to accelerate their makeover and address their various problems. They rank last in the NHL in goals per game, 2.19, and last in goal differential, having allowed 52 more goals than they’ve scored this season. They will miss the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons.

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The trade is the first made by Murray since he fired Randy Carlyle as coach and assumed the bench duties himself with the aim of getting a closer look at his players than he could get from his office or the press box. The Ducks were believed to be working on other trades as the deadline approaches.

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