NHL Mock Draft 2.0 has the Sabres trading their first-round pick to land a star forward

NHL Mock Draft 2.0 is a little different from many involving the Buffalo Sabres, as this one includes a blockbuster trade for a big-name forward.
Jan 23, 2024; Anaheim, California, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Peyton Krebs (19) and Anaheim Ducks right wing Frank Vatrano (77) battle for the puck in the second period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 23, 2024; Anaheim, California, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Peyton Krebs (19) and Anaheim Ducks right wing Frank Vatrano (77) battle for the puck in the second period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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This NHL Mock Draft simulation is a little different from what I did in Mock Draft 1.0, as the Buffalo Sabres did not draft a prospect with the 11th overall pick. Instead, they traded the pick to a team that is drafting in the top six this season. 

I used several scenarios for whom Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams could work with, and I eventually found a match that set the basis for what will be a blockbuster deal in Round 1. It could even be the first major trade leading up to the draft, and one that will benefit all parties involved. 

So what did the compensation consist of, and which productive player did the Blue and Gold land to insert into their forward group for next season in this second of three mock draft simulations?

Round 1 Trade

11th overall pick (Zeev Buium), 2025 3rd-round pick, and Matt Savoie for 2024 2nd Round Pick, 2025 4th-round pick, and Frank Vatrano

Yep, we got a blockbuster trade in Round 1, where the Anaheim Ducks (who drafted Ivan Demidov third-overall in this simulation) will make a huge trade with the Sabres involving a middle-aged winger in Frank Vatrano, whose 37-goal season should foreshadow something sensational in the City of Good Neighbors if such a trade occurs in June. 

Unfortunately, the Ducks would want more than just the 11th overall pick, especially since they wouldn’t see Zeev Buium in the NHL any time soon. Anaheim would want a player who could realistically play in the NHL in 2024-25, or 2025-26 at the latest. But because I had the Sabres giving up the 11th pick, Jiri Kulich, Isak Rosen, and the more high-upside prospects who won’t be in the NHL next year - like Anton Wahlberg and Noah Ostlund, were off the table. 

This left Matt Savoie, who, in a worst-case scenario, will get more than a handful of games with a bad team like the Ducks. Because the Sabres would be giving up such a high-end prospect in this scenario, Anaheim also flipped them their final pick in the second round, and one whom I was rather pleased to see the simulation select in that slot. 

Since I was only drafting for the Sabres, I was unable to make the selection myself, but let’s just say someone who I think highly of freefell to that spot.