BUFFALO, NY-- The Buffalo Sabres have traded forward Paul Gaustad and a fourth round draft pick to the Nashville Predators for a first round draft pick.

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"We set the standard high and the standard was we had to be able to acquire a first round pick," said Sabres generalmanager Darcy Regier. "If we couldn't acquire a first round pick in that process we were not going to trade him."

The trade was made just before the today's 3:00 p.m. deadline.

Gaustad, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, has been most frequently mentioned as a trade candidate. Regier talked about trading away one of the Sabres veteran players. "We knew that we had to get better and get better in the event if it meant taking a minor step back then we were prepared to do it."

Gaustad is in his seventh full NHL season, all with the Sabres. The center was Buffalo's top face-off specialist and had seven goals and 10 assists in 56 games this season.

For his career Gaustad has 71 goals and 110 assists.

Gaustad said the trade was not a complete shock, and is looking forward to his opportunity with his new team. "I have spent my entire adult life in Western New York but I'm really looking forward to coming to Nashville," Gaustad told the Nashville media. "It's really exciting for me and to be in playoff hockey and really taking a run at the Stanley Cup."

Regier believes that the trade will help the Sabres continue to improve this summer. "Long term it will turn out to be a good day,"said Regier. "We're going into the draft with two first round picks and two second round picks and we will have some options to either trade those picks for players or select the players in the draft."

WEB EXTRA: USA Today's Kevin Allen ranks the teams that helped themselves the most at the trade deadline.