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Sharpen Up: June 23, 2017

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

CHICAGO - Well hello there. Big day coming up here and it's not just because we freshened up our look a bit. The 2017 NHL Draft is tonight, starting at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN and Sportsnet. Told you it would be here before you know it.

We have all of our Draft coverage, presented by New Era, here at Bookmark it please.

Here's what you need to know. 

And if you haven't been following closely with us all month long, there's a lot for you to catch up on. 

This is where Buffalo currently stands with their selections:

The Sabres gained that second-round pick from Minnesota when they traded Chris Stewart to the Wild back in 2015. Buffalo's own third-round pick when to Montreal for defenseman Nathan Beaulieu and you can thank Mike Weber for Washington's selection in that round. Buffalo's fifth-round pick now belongs to St. Louis because of the trade that brought Anders Nilsson to Buffalo and the Sabres' sixth-round pick is Vegas' as part of the NHL Expansion Draft (the Golden Knights selected William Carrier and Buffalo also gave them that pick).

What's it been like in the scouting meetings? 

Brian Duff caught up with head amateur scout Jeff Crisp yesterday as part of a segment of The Instigators to find out:

Video: Duffer with Buffalo's head amateur scout

General manager Jason Botterill will hold a press availability this morning so stay locked in to and our social media channels for all the updates.

Via Chicago

So while there may not be a projected "franchise player" in this draft class, there are still plenty of solid prospects to choose from.  

Jourdon LaBarber filed this yesterday after taking a tour with some of the top prospects around Chicago. It's looking like it could be one of those drafts where the Top 15 to 20 prospects could go in almost any order:

With barely 24 hours to go until their futures are decided at United Center on Friday, media day on the Chicago River served as a welcome distraction. Most of the prospects were in agreement that the reality of their situation was only now starting to set in.

"A little bit, yeah," Mississauga forward Owen Tippett said. "You try not to think about it too much. I'm not really picky, just trying to be grateful and thankful for whatever team picks me."

The thing is, as much as any year in the past, uncertainty is abound for all of these prospects. Even Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier, the projected top two picks, don't know which order they'll go in. Beyond them, anything can happen. 

"I think for the most part, besides Nolan and Nico, it's pretty up in the air," Casey Mittelstadt, a center committed to the University of Minnesota, said. "We'll see what happens. But like I said, I don't really don't think there's a bad spot."

Who could the Sabres choose? We'll have more on that for you later today, but if you want to start doing your homework, Kris Baker's Top 31 is a very good place to start. 

If you're more of a visual learner, take a half hour and watch all five episodes of Prospect Avenue. There's no chance you'll regret it.

Forward Options at 8:

Video: Prospect Avenue is back for a second season

Defensive Options at 8:

Video: Prospect Avenue: Defensemen at 8?

Other Notable Potential First-Rounders:

Video: Prospect Avenue: Other notable 1st rounders

Prospects Baker Likes That Will Be Avaiable On Day 2:

Video: Prospect Avenue: Kris Baker's Deeper Sleepers for '17 

The Most Important Position: Goalies:

Video: Prospect Avenue: Goaltenders

How about some (more) fun stuff?

In addition to the two Drafts Over Drafts episodes, we published two bonus scenes yesterday as well as the full conversation between Martin Biron and Danny Gare in podcast form. Listen to the podcast here.

Video: Drafts Over Drafts Part 1

Video: Drafts Over Drafts Part 2 

 Video: Drafts Over Drafts Bonus Scene 1

 Video: Drafts Over Drafts Bonus Scene 2


Oh and the schedule came out yesterday

Here are some dates to keep in mind. To print the full schedule out, click here. To send it right to the calendar on your phone, click here

That should be enough to get you started today. We'll talk to you again real soon.


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