Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

What Would It Cost For the Buffalo Sabres to Land the #1 Pick?

After a disappointing season and with a rebuild on the horizon, Buffalo Sabres’ fans are desperate for their team to make a major move. That major move has to either come from the draft or free agency this summer. The Sabres won just enough games to take themselves out of the running for the first overall pick but fell just short of the playoffs. In order to make that splash in the 2013 draft the Sabres will need some help, and according to the latest rumour the Colorado Avalanche may be willing to help.

According to Buffalo Sabres scout Kevin Devin, the Buffalo Sabres and Colorado Avalanche have been in talks about the first overall pick in the draft:

“”We’ve had conversations with a lot of teams, including Colorado. I do think there’ll be some movement in those picks”. ~ Kevin Devine.

Now lots of teams like to make phone calls about the draft before the draft to see if their counterpart is willing to part ways with their pick, and the Avalanche will likely get 29 calls. But the Sabres have the perfect flexibility to get a deal done.

My colleague Cory Buck wrote about how the Sabres chances of landing a top 3 pick- let alone the first overall pick, are pretty slim. But as Sabres’ fans, nothing the team does should surprise us and you never know what Darcy Regier has up his sleeve.

In order to obtain the first overall pick from the Avalanche, the Sabres would need to offer up a monster of a deal. Since the team is talking rebuild, this would be the perfect opportunity for the Sabres to land that franchise player to build around, only problem is the Avalanche are also looking for a franchise player. The good news is that this years draft is flooded with talent; virtually anyone inside the 20 is a solid a pick.

Where the Sabres hold an advantage over other teams in the market for the first overall pick is the draft itself. In the 2013 NHL draft the Buffalo Sabres have 2 picks inside the top 20 and 4 picks inside the top 50, that’s a lot of picks to dangle in front of teams who are looking to add depth. Sure it’s the first overall pick, but if you had a chance to add two impact players a little lower down wouldn’t that also benefit your team?

There are two trade packages that the Sabres could send to the Avalanche; both of which are pretty massive. The packages centre around, as you may have guessed, Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek.

The first package would see the Sabres send Ryan Miller, Mark Pysyk and the 8th and 16th picks in the draft to the Avalanche. The Avalanche need a proven goaltender if they plan to get back into the playoff picture for next season; Semyon Varlamov just isn’t getting the job done. Miller is a proven NHL goalie that has won a Vezina, an Olympic silver medal and will win you 30 games a year. Having Miller between the pipes would put an end to the Avalanche’s goalie woes. Sending them Mark Pysyk and two picks in the first round give the Avalanche a chance to get exactly what they want; defencemen. The Avalanche would acquire a solid young defenceman in Pysyk who has honed his skills and is ready to step onto an NHL blue line and give them the chance to add two more solid defencemen in Darnell Nurse and Josh Morrissey. The Avalanche want defencemen, why not give them a chance to land 3 solid blue liners?

The second package get’s a little trickier. The Sabres would send veteran forward Thomas Vanek, rookie sensation Mikhail Grigorenko, Joel Armia, the 8th overall pick and a 2nd round pick. In addition to the numerous draft picks the Sabres have at their disposal, the Sabres have also built themselves a solid prospect pool. Sending Vanek is a no brainer; he wants to leave and would be a key player on any team. Giving up on Grigorenko hurts, but we haven’t seen anything from him yet to keep him when there’s an opportunity to improve. His former QMJHL coach Patrick Roy just got hired behind the bench in Colorado, why not reunite the two? Armia is still a question mark as he has yet to play in the NHL, but he’s a prospect with upside. The Avalanche would still be able to land their defence with the 8th pick and a second rounder.

Is there a chance that the Sabres can talk the Avalanche into parting their coveted first overall pick? Yes, but it’s slim and the Sabres may end up over paying. If Regier can coax away the first overall pick it’s likely going to involve giving up a lot and either of the packages listed above may not be enough. The draft is still 17 days away but for now Sabres’ fans can dream.

What do you think of the two packages? Too much or too little?

Tags: 2013 Draft Buffalo Sabres Colorado Avalanche.

  • Kevin

    I’m afraid of your second scenario. My opinion is they should just move up as far as the can by using Miller and trading 1st rounders. Since it is such a deep draft I would hate the Sabres to give away draft picks. I think the more the merrier. You never know which one is going to pan out.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I agree it could be very scary trading up. I believe the top 3 are all solid picks with a bright future but you never know. Sabres definitely need to move up but it’s a deep draft so they should be good!

  • Justin Tosczak

    I would like to see Miller, Stafford, 8 and 16 pick perhaps. However, if that fantasy came true, we would have to eat some of Stafford’s contract.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I don’t think we could get away with sending them Stafford. The avalanche want young forwards and promising defencemen.

      • Justin Tosczak

        Right, but witgh the 8, and 16 pick they could draft young forwards. A proven Goalie, and a decent forward.. (Again, we would need to buy out some of his contract). Because when you take a step back and look at this situation, is the surprise the X factor that makes the top 2 picks worth so much? What would happen if Colorado drafted Jones, and we offered this same package for just that one player? Then it seems we over paid

        • Caitlin Campbell

          Oh ok I see your point now. No doubt the Avalanche would need to also through in a player in addition to the first overall pick or the Sabres would definitely be getting a raw deal. I was just focusing on what the Sabres would pay, not entirely on what they’d get in return.

  • Wayne

    Proven players for prospects? You are all nuts! These top 3 arent Sidney Crosby. Picks for picks or a pick and a player.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I didn’t say I believed the Sabres should trade up for unproven prospects, simply elaborating on what it would take them to do so. They may not be “Sidney Crosby’s” but they are going to be three pretty darn good players and a lot better than what the Sabres have on tap righ now.

  • Joshua_Tree

    Such massive overpayments. The article itself states that anyone in the top 20 is a solid pick. So why would we be so desperate to trade up? Why trade a couple of solid players AND a couple of solid picks, to trade up?

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Fair enough. Simply just responding to the rumours. Of course getting a player like Jones, Drouin or MacKinnon would be nice but anyone inside the top 20 could get the job done for the Sabres.

  • zyzak


  • Jon Abbey

    This type of payment is exactly why I doubt Colorado would want to build a package around players with high salaries like vanek and miller that only have one year left on there contracts. the roster play they would ask for would have to be a someone like Ennis or Ehrhoff who they could have around for a long time.

    Vanek and Miller have more value as center pieces of a trade for picks and prospects, rather then a piece of a trade to move up a few spots in the draft. trading either with one of our first round picks to move up would be a giant waste of value.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Wasting value is trading two players who want out for a franchise player?! I was thinking Ehrhoff was another player who would fit one of the packages but I do agree it would be better to send Miller and Vanek in seperate deals

  • MJK

    I’d like to see them get 2 of the top 3 and draft Mackinnon and Drouin. Move Miller, Vanek, Sekera, Stafford, 8th, 16th, 2nd rounders etc. I would not want to move any prospects, though. Start a real rebuild.

    • Jay Barone

      I don’t think you will get 2 of the top 3 but maybe 2 of the top 5…. Maybe get Mckinnon and the Russian kid….

      • Caitlin Campbell

        I agree, 2 in the top 5 would be their best option as i don’t see anyone helping them get 2 in the top 3 unless they’re really ready to sell everything. It’s a deep draft but if they could at least get 1 inside the top 5 they’d benefit.

  • Jay Barone

    How about Miller, Vanek and the #8?? Maybe throw in one of the 2nd rounders.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I think it would be a mistake to through both Miller and Vanek into one deal. Seperately the Sabres can get better deals IMO

  • wolfdoctor

    WAY too much. Regier should be fired if he were to make a ridiculous trade such as the ones proposed.

  • pavl

    Let’s see: Brennan, Leopold, Regehr, Pominville, Hecht, Vanek, Miller (has anyone seen an official statement stating he cannot submit a list of eight teams he won’t go to? Everyone knows these players are gone and going, Three of them the most productive players on the team. Now you want to throw in another player or tow that show real promise. Put together, those are nine holes left by valuable players that need to be filled, in your mind, by one player. Yikes!!! The Avs fans don’t want the team to make a trade for the #1 pick. The Avs can’t fill their seats, and, the main reporter covering the Avs is warning them not to trade. The Avs fans are our true friends. You either are being paid to look ridiculous and to stir up the logical, or, you’re working for someone who wants the demise of the Sabres.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      First of all I didn’t go into what the Sabres would get back from the Avalanche in addition to the first overall pick. Obviously the Avalanche would have to throw in additional parts, but that wasn’t the point of this article. If you read the title it’s “What the Sabres would have to pay.”

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