The host Buffalo Sabres made a big splash to open Day 2 of the NHL draft, acquiring veteran defenseman Dmitry Kulikov and the 33rd pick from the Florida Panthers in exchange for defenseman Mark Pysyk and the 38th and 89th picks.
Kulikov, a first-round selection (14th) in 2009, is coming off a frustrating season in which he scored just one goal and 17 points in 74 games. He doesn't address the team's clear need for a power play presence, but his experience and grinding game will help a young Sabres defense that could use a little jam. As a left shot, he also brings balance to the unit.
Pysyk, a 2010 first rounder, is a darling of the analytical crowd which hints at why the revamped Panthers would be interested. He's a better skater than Kulikov, and is more of a possession driver, even if the eye test suggests he doesn't do much on the ice.
Whether or not he's the next Anton Stralman, another favorite of the stats crowd who came into his own with a trade to the Sunshine State, Pysyk comes with a cap savings of $3.208 million, freeing space for the Panthers to make other moves as they see fit. He also gives them roster control. Both players have one year left on their current deals, but Pysyk will be a restricted free agent at the end of the 2016-17 season. Kulikov will be unrestricted.
The Sabres used the 33rd pick to draft Rasmus Asplund. The 5' 10", 176-pound winger is viewed as a skilled, two-way forward who plays at a high pace. He's already a regular in the Swedish Hockey League, slotting in as the third-line center with Farjestad BK.
Florida used the 38th pick to select 5' 9", 193-pound forward Adam Mascherin. Despite his size, he's viewed as an explosive skater with elite scoring potential.