For the second-straight year, the Buffalo Sabres hold the No. 2 selection in the NHL Draft.
They’ll be getting a very talented player with that pick – likely Boston University center Jack Eichel – but the intrigue really begins for the team later in the first round. The Sabres have a chance to add even more talent to the organization since they’re set to pick again at 21, 31 and 51.
With the No. 21 pick, Sabres general manager Tim Murray hopes that a player they have ranked in the Top 10 is still available, but isn’t counting on it.
“There’s a guy left in our Top 10, that would be outstanding,” he said Thursday morning at First Niagara Center. “I don’t think that’s going to happen.
“[Scenario] No. 2 is a team calls and they’re having problems with one of their players or they’re having problems with their cap situation and they offer us a 23- or 24-year-old top-six forward or top three defenseman or No. 1 goalie and they’d be willing to take 21 for that.”
The first round of the 2015 NHL Draft will be held Friday, June 26 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. Rounds 2 through 7 take place the following day.
“Both scenarios are optimal for us and the chance of either scenario happening right now, for me, [are] slim to none,” he said. “The third thing is we’ll take the highest player on our list.”
When it comes to selecting players, Murray’s philosophy isn’t necessarily to fill in positions of need, but to take the best player available. That could even mean moving up from 21.
At the same time, however, Murray doesn’t think it hurts to take at least one goalie every year.
“I am a firm believer in a taking goalie, though. If at all possible, you should take a goalie every draft,” he said. “Because I think they’re a little more of a wild card than a forward or defenseman in the fact that we’ve seen guys like Pekka Rinne for example – an eighth-round pick. I hate to say this, I think you should throw a dart on a goalie every draft, but I’m not a believer in picking for position.”
As far as where the team could look to go with those other high picks, Murray said it comes down to reading the draft once it begins.
“We have a fair idea of where a lot of the players are going to go today,” he said, “but you have to sit at that table to read the tea leaves and catch the direction of where it’s going.”