By John Vogl
The Sabres' stockpiling of future assets has begun as Buffalo traded defenseman Jordan Leopold to the St. Louis Blues this afternoon for a second-round pick and conditional fifth-round selection in this year's draft.
Reports indicate the fifth-round pick becomes a fourth-rounder if the Blues win a playoff series.
The 32-year-old Leopold is in the final year of a three-year, $9 million deal with the Sabres and is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
The defenseman was a double-digit goal-scorer for the Sabres the previous two seasons. He had two goals and eight points in 24 games this season. He was a healthy scratch once as his game slipped earlier in the season. He's rebounded since returning from a hand injury and had a goal and three assists in the last seven games.
The move comes one day after Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier told The News the team would look toward the future in regards to Wednesday's trade deadline.
Leopold has played 610 NHL games, recording 65 goals and 137 assists for 202 points. The blue-liner embraced the community during his time in Buffalo and was a regular visitor to local hospitals.
The Blues are in eighth place in the Western Conference with a 17-14-2 record. They were second in the West last season at 49-22-11.