If Darcy Regier needs a new ringtone, he might want to look no further than the new pop hit “Call Me Maybe.” Four days away from the entry draft, Regier admitted at today’s press conference at First Niagara Center that he’s been making more phone calls than usual heading into one of his busiest times of the year.
“We are very active as it relates to finding ways to improve our hockey team. Some of the names you hear that are out there, we’ve had conversations with those teams,” Regier explained. “I think it’s way too early to know whether or not anything will happen. I think there are a lot of teams like us in similar positions that are trying to do the same thing. At the start of the draft week, even the week before, you start to get a sense. But then as we get closer to the draft, things have a way of materializing.”
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With a pair of first-round picks at 12th and 21st overall – and two more in the second round – Regier said the Sabres have some “flexibility” in terms of what they are able to do. But whether that means trading up or acquiring a proven NHLer, Regier expects it play out over the course of the next 96 hours or so.
“It’s too early. It could go anyway. We could use those four picks just to pick players in the draft. It’s the value of the players in the draft and how soon they may be ready for the National Hockey League, versus the cost to acquire some other player.”
Edmonton and Columbus own the first two picks this year, and the chatter has been that the Sabres should try and use their wealth of early draft picks to move up into one of those spots. But according to Kevin Devine, Buffalo’s Director of Amateur Scouting, this may not be the year to mortgage players off your roster for high draft picks.
“It depends where. We’re not adverse to moving up. But this year’s draft, it’s the first since I can remember, where there’s really not a consensus top five out there. If you polled all the head scouts in the league, you’d probably have 30 different lists."
Devine says the lack of proven star power at the top of the draft may scare some teams off if they are considering a blockbuster move into the top five.
“At the top of the draft, there’s no Stamkos or Nugent-Hopkins. I don’t see a draft like that this year. I think it’s a very good draft. It’s as many as 20 players deep in the first round where you can get a real good player. But for us to move up in the top five and the price it’s going to be, I’m not sure if it’s worth it because I’m not sure if any of those players have distinguished themselves any better than a player who might be around nine. Now if we’re sitting at 12 and we really like a guy and we see him falling, there’s a possibility we might move up. For us to move up into the top five, it’s a low percentage at this point. We’re more likely to move up from 21 than 12.”