CHICAGO - It's Draft Day, and while a flurry of trades are happening throughout the NHL as of Friday afternoon, the Sabres are still set to pick with the eighth overall selection at United Center come tonight.
That can change, of course, and Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said the team is prepared for all possibilities entering the first round.
"We'll look at different scenarios about possibly moving up or moving back, but right now our mindset is we're going to be choosing at eight," he said. "I think [the amateur scouting staff has] done a good job in sort of making sure that no matter how the draft plays out - [teams] go defense, go forward - we're going to be prepared and were going to like the player that we go with."
Here's what to expect from the Draft based on Botterill's comments on Friday morning.
Don't be surprised if the Sabres draft a forward
Botterill has said that addressing the team's defensive depth is a top priority - he's already added two players on the blue line in Victor Antipin and Nathan Beaulieu - but that won't necessarily guide his hand during the Draft. The GM reaffirmed his philosophy of taking the best player available, regardless of position.
"It's a scenario where our team can drastically change over the next 12 months or 24 months," he said. "So, again, we're going to take the best player and see where it goes."
Buffalo will look to add goaltending depth
Particularly after losing Cal Petersen to free agency, Botterill said the team would like to add to its goaltending depth in the draft if the right opportunity presents itself.
"I think there's always a situation where you're trying to find a spot in the draft to pick up a goaltender," he said. "But you also don't want to force the issue with it. There's a couple goalies who we feel very comfortable with, depending on how the draft [goes] … If we can make a selection at one point in the draft, we'll be happy."
Beyond Robin Lehner, who is a restricted free agent, the Sabres currently have Linus Ullmark, Jonas Johansson and Jason Kasdorf on their goaltending depth chart. Anders Nilsson, who backed up Lehner last season, will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Expect the unexpected
We heard from prospects on Thursday about how up in the air this year's draft is beyond the first two selections, and Botterill echoed that sentiment.
"I have zero clue the true order," he said. "So many players are so close in that area, I think it will be very interesting to seer how it plays out."