The Buffalo Sabres will already be drafting a likely superstar in the NHL Draft, but new rumors indicate that it’s not the only big move the team has planned.
The Sabres finished dead last in the NHL this season, but lost out on the draft lottery to the Edmonton Oilers. It’s likely not too big a blow to the Sabres, who will miss out one on generational talent in Connor McDavid but will get to take another one in Jack Eichel.
But rumors indicate that the Buffalo Sabres may have other big plans as well. The team also has the No. 21 pick in the NHL Draft thanks to a trade with the New York Islanders two years ago, and general manager Tim Murray has talked about the possibility of trading that pick up.
Neutral Ice discussed the strategy of moving higher in the draft.
“The top 20 prospects available in this year’s draft have the potential to be in the lineup in the NHL within the next year or two. After the top 20 players, the level of play drops off to players who would need a few years to develop in juniors and the minors.
“Murray is very well aware of this, and that is why he is wanting to make a move back into the top 15-20. He wants prospects that will not take five years to develop, but prospects who could contribute and help the Sabres contend within a three year period.”
For many Buffalo Sabres fans, it matters little what will happen after the No. 2 pick. Fans have been enamored with Jack Eichel for months, as the Boston University product was seen as a much more likely pick to end up with the team than McDavid. As the worst team in hockey, the Sabres had a 20 percent chance to win the draft lottery and land McDavid and an 80 percent chance of falling to No. 2, where they will take Eichel.
Even Jack Eichel himself, who happens to be in Buffalo right now for the NHL Scouting Combine, said he already feels welcome.
“I’ve gotten a lot from locals, from ‘welcome home’ to ‘we’re happy to have you here,'” Eichel said Saturday. “It’s just everything. The people here are really welcoming. Obviously, they care a lot about their hockey.”
While there are still a few weeks until the NHL Draft, the rumors surrounding the Buffalo Sabres seem to fit within Murray’s aggressive style. The Sabres are trying to pull off a quick rebuild, and with Eichel plus Evander Kane and a slew of other young prospects, the team could make a quick turnaround.
[Image via Getty Images/Bruce Bennett]