Edmonton Oilers trade McLeod and Tullio to Buffalo for Matt Savoie

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Looks like Ryan McLeod got caught up in a numbers game.

Actually two numbers games.

For this reason, the 24-year-old winger was traded to the Buffalo Sabres along with minor league talent Ty Tullio in exchange for Matt Savoie, the ninth overall pick in the 2022 draft.

First, the Edmonton Oilers had to cut salaries after their July 1 signing wave. They brought in unrestricted free agents Jeff Skinner, Viktor Arvidsson and Josh Brown and re-signed Mattias Janmark, Adam Henrique, Connor Brown, Corey Perry and Troy Stecher for a total of $15.25 million.

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That put Edmonton $2.5 million over the salary cap, so they had to cut costs somewhere. With McLeod in the final year of a contract that pays him $2.1 million, he was one of the obvious moves.

This is where the other numbers game comes into play.

The Oilers have room for nine top forwards and he is not one of them.

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With the additions of Arvidsson and Skinner and the emergence of Henrique, Janmark and Brown as the game-deciding third line in the playoffs, McLeod became expendable.

McLeod brings some upside. He’s good at carrying the puck and getting into the offensive zone, and he’s responsible defensively, but offensively he seems to have peaked at 10-12 goals per year and will never have the physical, tenacious presence expected of a bottom-six 10-goal scorer.

The 20-year-old Savoie is a right-shot center from St. Albert who played last year in the Western Hockey League, where he split time between the Moose Jaw Warriors and Wenatchee Wild, scoring 71 points in 34 games.

Last year he also scored five points in six games in the AHL.

Tullio, 22, was selected by the Oilers in the fifth round of the 2020 draft but has yet to play an NHL game. The right winger scored nine goals and 21 points in 54 games in Bakersfield last year.

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