Buffalo Sabres Chances At Top Draft Picks


There has been a lot talked recently with the Buffalo Sabres and their chances at a generational type player being selected in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

There is no guarantee for the Buffalo Sabres to select first overall, despite their holding the last place in the National Hockey League.  With only a 20% chance of winning the right to select first, coupled with the very real chance that they are not the worst team at the end of the year, how could the Buffalo Sabres still end up with Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel if they are selecting third overall in the NHL Entry draft, post the draft lottery?

It all hinges on the Edmonton Oilers, and their position in the draft.

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There is no secret to who the number one and number two guys in the draft are.  Connor McDavid will go number one, and there won’t be much pause at the podium before Jack Eichel is pulling on an NHL sweater.  The third overall draft pick will most likely be Noah Hanifin, the top defenseman in this year’s draft class.

If the Buffalo Sabres draft third, Hanifin would be a great addition to the Buffalo Sabres, who already have a very strong defensive corps for the future.  Unfortunately, he is not the generational player that is on the Buffalo Sabres radar.  If the Edmonton Oilers are one of the top two picks, the Buffalo Sabres could still end up with Jack Eichel or Connor McDavid.

You see, it all boils down to the fact that the Edmonton Oilers have the pieces up front already.  Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov and Leon Draisaitl all make for great scoring options up front.  There really isn’t a great need for McDavid or Eichel in Edmonton.  What the Oilers lack is depth at defense, which is where Noah Hanifin becomes the best fit for the Edmonton Oilers.

There is however, that onus that no one with the top two draft picks will want to trade away the chance at a generational player.  But what if the deal is right?

Tim Murray is no stranger to talent, being a former scout, and a good one at that.  He has also proven as general manager of the Buffalo Sabres that he is willing to make a hockey trade, that may not make much sense on the surface, but an over-payment to make the Buffalo Sabres a better hockey club.

Moving up in the draft if the Oilers are above would be costly, and might include the likes of Mark Pysyk.  If your top three defensive prospects are Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov, Pysyk is the most likely of the three to be made available in a trade.

A very heavy price to pay, but if you look at it from both teams perspectives, the trade makes some sense.

The Buffalo Sabres have a great prospect in Mark Pysyk.  He is ready to make the leap to the NHL full time, and has been playing the Rochester to Buffalo travel game this season.  The Buffalo Sabres would get in return one of the two players they have been trying so hard this season to get.

The Edmonton Oilers would lose out on getting one of those two players, either Eichel or McDavid, but what they would be getting is an NHL ready defenseman that could  make an impact as soon as next season, and adding Noah Hanifin into their prospect pool.

Hanifin is currently playing in the NCAA system with the Boston College Eagles.  Depending on his level of commit to college, and his NHL training camp debut – the Oilers have the option of rushing him into service at the NHL level, or letting him groom it out in the college system.

Odds are good that the Edmonton Oilers will be picking after the Buffalo Sabres unless they win the draft lottery, but all things considered, if the goal is drafting one or two – would it hurt to make the phone call to the Edmonton Oilers?

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