While the draft alone isn’t responsible for building a contending team, the majority of the team’s core comes through it, especially when a team is rebuilding. While Connor McDavid isn’t up for grabs next year, there are a lot of factors that will need to be addressed before the Sabres even have a shot at him or Jack Eichel. Due to the uncertainty of next years season, along with the 2014 draft, will be key to the Buffalo Sabres rebuild.
This NHL season is already past the half way mark and the Sabres currently have a 53% of finishing 30th and a 97% chance of
finishing somewhere in the bottom 3. While those are horrible odds for the playoffs, they are pretty good odds that the Sabres will be able to nab either the 1st or 2nd pick in the upcoming draft. Another team to watch is the New York Islanders, who have a 44% at finishing in the bottom 5 this season and owe the Sabres a pick either this year or next.
Chances are the Islanders don’t want to lose their chance at McDavid and will end up giving us this year’s pick, which leaves the Buffalo Sabres with a very real chance of having 2 picks inside the top 5 or 2 picks inside the top 7. That’s a chance to take 2 big steps in the rebuild by drafting some solid cornerstones for the Buffalo Sabres future.
The good thing about finishing in 30th is that the lowest the Sabres could pick is 29th, which almost ensures they will get one of their top picks at this upcoming draft. What a great way to start the Tim Murray era. Add in the Islanders possible pick, and some picks the Sabres could get for Ryan Miller and Matt Moulson, and this years draft is going to be filled with blue and gold.
Now I know I’ve been pretty harsh on the draft eligible players for this year’s draft but I really shouldn’t be. Sure, none of them appear to be the next Sidney Crosby or “franchise players,”, however, they are all insanely talented in their own right, or they wouldn’t be top 5 NHL draft picks. There is some very good talent that will certainly aid the Buffalo Sabres going forward, available in the top 7 this year and if they can net 2 players in the top 7 the rebuild will be off on the right foot.
Let’s take a look at some of the draft eligible talent the Sabres will be targeting in the top 5-7 picks. I’m not going to do them based on rank as the rankings seem to change every week.