With the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Finals, the NHL has released the complete schedule for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft to be held on June 27 and 28 in Philadelphia. The Buffalo Sabres hold the second overall pick in the draft. The complete order of the first round can be seen here.
There has been much rumor and speculation surrounding the Buffalo Sabres and possibly the ability to move into the first overall pick, or even drop from the number two spot.
I don’t see either of those scenario’s coming true for the Buffalo Sabres. What is more likely to happen, and has been hinted at by Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray – is the Buffalo Sabres moving back into the first round and getting two picks in the top thirty this year. It is all about finding the right dance partner.
There are two teams that Tim Murray could reach out to to get back into the first round, without taking away from a team with a pick in the first round.
Anaheim Ducks and the Buffalo Sabres
The first team the Buffalo Sabres can give a call to is the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks have their own first round pick in the draft at 24 – but they also have the tenth overall pick from the Ottawa Senators from the Bobby Ryan trade.
Anaheim has a lot of money tied up in Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, but needs to refine its roster if they plan on making a further push in the Stanley Cup Finals next year. The Chicago Blackhawks are the measuring stick in the Western Conference, but they are far from the only threat. The Los Angeles Kings look to be good for several years to come.
How much more do the Anaheim Ducks need? How about a defenseman. The Buffalo Sabres are interested in trading Christian Ehrhoff – and while he may not be worth the number ten or number twenty-four selection, you might be able to convince the Ducks to take him for a first, if your pitching in a second round draft pick as well.
Tim Murray has hinted about using those picks to move into the first round - so that’s a very interesting proposition.
Tampa Bay Lightning and the Buffalo Sabres
Another team with the benefit of a second first round pick this year is the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampa bas their own pick at nineteen- and the pick at number twenty-eight from the New York Rangers they received from the Martin St. Louis deal.
Tampa Bay does not have the salary tied up making next year’s transition to a larger cap as easy as Anaheim has it – so they may be more inclined to pick up a contract like Ehrhoff.
Bad contracts are the Buffalo Sabres best friend. They don’t even necessarily have to be overly terrible. Both Anaheim and Tampa Bay want the playoffs to run in their home markets longer than they did – shedding some roster space at the draft makes it easier for them to pursue and overpay on July 1 a guy they think will be more beneficial to their system.
Not having two picks shouldn’t slow Tim Murray down on draft day looking for that trade. The Detroit Red Wings have built a modern dynasty and have gone several years without a first round draft pick. The Minnesota Wild are building a system and are close; they may be willing to part with a first rounder if they are getting additional depth picks.
Draft talk is picking up – where will the Buffalo Sabres end up in the first round, or maybe more importantly, how many times will the Buffalo Sabres end up in the first round?