The Buffalo Sabres have quite an upper hand in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. On the 30th of June, the Sabres will begin the day with two first-round draft picks (8th and 16th), looking to make the most of their draft pick advantage.
As you may recall, the Sabres have the 8th pick as a result of their poor season, and the 16th pick as a result of the Jason Pominville trade with the Minnesota Wild.
With things currently standing how they do, here are the picks that certain hockey writers have mocked at 8th and 16th for the Sabres.
TSN Valeri Nichushkin, LW -
SabresProspects.com Elias Lindholm, C Steven Santini, D
CBS Sportsline Rasmus Ristolainen, D -
MyNHLDraft.com Rasmus Ristolainen, D Andre Burakovsky, LW
DraftSite.com Darnell Nurse, D Alexander Wennberg, C
NHL.com Ryan Pulock, D
Hunter Shinkaruk, C/LW
Elias Lindholm, C
Adam Erne, LW
Ryan Hartman, RW
Mirco Mueller, D
Bleacher Report Darnell Nurse, D Valentin Zykov, LW
Although the Sabres start the day with two first-round picks, that may not last for very long.
Speaking to WGR Wednesday morning, Buffalo Sabres Director of Amateur Scouting Kevin Devine had some very interesting words to pass along regarding the first overall pick.
When asked about the first overall pick, Devine said, “We have had conversations with Colorado. I think you know there’s been a regime change there as everybody knows in the last three weeks. And I think they’re trying to figure out themselves what’s happening there. I believe they’re having internal meetings there this week and we’ll probably get back to them at some point. We’re waiting for a call back to find out what their position is.”
Now, this could just be Colorado dipping their toes in the pool, if you will. “I think it’s how far they want to move back,” Devine said. “And you take the situation in Colorado and where there’s a new regime in there with Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy. I don’t think Patrick came in there with the idea of a long rebuild. So I think they might be willing to listen to a few things. And like I said, with it being a deep draft and there being all kinds of different options with different kinds of players.. defense, gritty forwards, skilled forwards, there’s all kinds of options. We don’t exactly know what teams are thinking in front of us, but it keeps our options open.”
The Buffalo Sabres have also been linked to the Nashville Predators and the 4th overall pick in recent weeks.
“We’ll entertain offers,” said Predators assistant general manager Paul Fenton. “We’ve already had people inquire with us about it and vice-versa. We’ll talk about whatever position that can improve us for the whole big picture of things.”
In that same week, Sabres general manager Darcy Regier stated that he had spoken with a team in the top four, regarding moving up.
There is a lot of smoke in both of these situations, and the Sabres are not the only team calling. There is no guarantee that the Sabres will move up, but clearly Darcy Regier has a plan that he is trying to put into place.
Kevin Devine stated, in the aforementioned interview, that the Sabres viewed both Seth Jones and Nathan MacKinnon as the top prospects in this upcoming draft. If we are connecting the dots here, it seems as if the Sabres are very interested in forward Nathan MacKinnon, due to their lack of offensive fire power.
No matter what, a lot will happen in the next few weeks leading up to the draft, and on Draft Day as well. Keep your eyes and ears peeled, the fun has just begun.