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Sabres acquire Penguins’ Conor Sheary and Matt Hunwick

Conor Sheary played three seasons with the Penguins. | Jared Wickerham/AP Photo

The Sabres acquired forward Conor Sheary and defenseman Matt Hunwick from the Penguins in exchange for a conditional 2019 fourth-round pick, the teams announced Wednesday.

The fourth-round pick becomes a third-round pick if Sheary records 20 goals or 40 points, or if Buffalo trades Hunwick prior to the 2019 NHL Draft, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.

Sheary and Hunwick are each signed for the next two seasons, per Cap Friendly. Sheary has a $3 million cap hit while Hunwick has a $2.25 million cap hit. The Penguins didn’t retain any salary in the deal, so the Sabres will be on the hook for the remaining money.

Both players will become unrestricted free agents when their contracts expire in 2020.

With this trade, Pittsburgh clears $5.25 million in cap space, which gives it significant breathing room under the $79.5 million salary cap. The team recently signed forward Bryan Rust to a four-year, $14 million extension, which may have helped make Sheary expendable.

Sheary, an undrafted free agent who signed out of UMass in 2015, proved to be an effective role player for the Penguins. The winger made his debut during the 2015-16 season, broke out in 2016-17 with 53 points in 61 games and won two Stanley Cups. However, his production took a step back last season with 30 points in 79 games.