The Sabres traded left winger Thomas Vanek, one of the top scorers in franchise history, to the New York Islanders on Sunday night. Buffalo received left winger Matt Moulson, a first-round pick in the 2014 draft and a second-round selection in 2015.
Moulson and Vanek are both 29, and both are in the final year of a contract. Vanek is completing a seven-year, $50 million deal, while Moulson is concluding a three-year, $9.4 million contract.
"It was a deal that was off and on here for a while," Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said. "It was something we feel we needed to do. ... It was important to get first- and second-round picks.
"You have to believe in what you're doing. It's exciting when you can get young players and see them grow. The hard part is when you don't win games while they're growing. It's a long-term plan, and you've got to deal with the two."
Vanek ranks fifth in Sabres history with 254 goals and 10th with 497 points. He is fourth in power-play goals (106) and fourth in game-winning goals (41). Vanek has four goals and five assists this season.
Moulson has six goals and three assists this season.
"It's sad to leave people you care about and love behind," Moulson he told ESPNNewYork.com. "I think over the years I've shown my want to be a part of the organization and turning around the team into being successful. I guess, obviously, in the long run, they didn't feel the same."