The Buffalo Sabres fail to move up to take a top five player in the NHL Entry draft, and then they select a defenseman with the 8th
With Valeri Nichushkin still on the board - Buffalo passes over a skilled forward that could help accelerate the development of Mikhail Grigorenko.
Why did the Buffalo Sabres pass on Nichushkin? The flight risk is probably the biggest factor in not taking a Russian winger. He doesn’t want to sit in the American Hockey League – he wants to play in a premier league; which means if he doesn’t land an NHL spot – he’s headed back to the KHL to play there.
Buffalo doesn’t like that option – because they lose control over his development, and the ability to bring him back next year.
If your a team rebuilding however, why wouldn’t you make room on your roster for the winger?
The Buffalo Sabres are still operating in an antiquated system in which they need all of their prospects to play in the American Hockey League to learn the pro game before getting an NHL spot.
They tried bucking that trend with Tyler Myers – and the team is still reeling from that decision, and the organization are not happy about that. For being the rebuilding team that is one of the youngest in the league, Darcy Regier is afraid to put his prospects on NHL ice to compete.
What’s the worst thing that could happen – we lose out and get a top three pick?