A season of losing for the Buffalo Sabres continue as the Florida Panthers were selected as the draft lottery winners in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft Lottery.
This is the third straight year that the NHL has bumped the second worst team in the league up to the first pick. Florida was in the number one spot last year and was bumped to the second overall selection.
Getting the second overall pick isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the Buffalo Sabres in this draft class. With the Buffalo Sabres pledging to take the best possible player at wherever they select in the draft, the Buffalo Sabres have zero pressure now to take the number one rated prospect from the Barrie Colts, defenseman Aaron Ekblad.
With no pressure to take Ekblad and place another defenseman into the prospect pool, the Buffalo Sabres will be clear to take Sam Reinhart from the Kootenay Ice, the top offensive player in the draft.
All is not 100% lost for the Buffalo Sabres. With the second overall pick locked up and work beginning by the team to build their board, the option for a second selection in the top five teams could be handed to them. The New York Islanders retained their selection at number five overall.
The Islanders owe the Buffalo Sabres a first round draft pick in either 2014 or 2015 in return on the Thomas Vanek trade. If they elect to give the Buffalo Sabres this year’s selection, they will have two draft picks in the top five this year, and likely one next year (their own).
From the mouth of Tim Murray – and the tone that the general manager and Head Coach Ted Nolan had at the end of the year press conference – every position will be filled at training camp with a battle – and regardless of who gets picked this year they will likely spend next year in the juniors anyway, if they have any eligibility.