Each player had a 10-team no-trade list, but Buffalo was not on Staal's and Minnesota was not on Johansson's, sources told Michael Russo of The Athletic.
The 35-year-old Staal remained productive in 2019-20, potting 19 goals and 47 points in 66 games. He'll likely be asked to become the No. 2 center behind Jack Eichel in Buffalo. That role was a major hole for the Sabres last year, with the team attempting to use Johansson in that spot despite the fact he is a natural winger.
There will be plenty of familiarity for Staal in western New York. He could be reunited on a line with former Carolina Hurricanes teammate Jeff Skinner, who could use a spark after recording just 23 points in the first season of his eight-year, $72-million extension. Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams is also a former teammate of Staal's; the two won a Stanley Cup together with the Canes in 2006.
Johansson, 29, tallied nine goals and 30 points in 60 games last season. He spent the first seven seasons of his 10-year career with the Washington Capitals, posting a career-high 58 points in 2016-17. Though he does have the ability to play center, he's had his best seasons playing on the wing. But Minnesota has a logjam of left-handed shooting wingers like Johansson, as well as a need at center.
Both players are entering the final year of their respective deals. Staal's contract carries an average annual value of $3.25 million, while Johansson's annual cap hit is $4.5 million.