Buffalo Sabres Draft Recap: The picks, trades, analysis, and more – Die By The Blade

    the buffalo sabers have had a busy weekend. Not only did they select six new prospects to add to their organization, but they also made two big trades for nhl-caliber players who will have an immediate and profound impact on their team next season.

    the selections

    The Sabers finished the 2015 draft adding two centers, four defensemen and zero goaltenders to their prospect pool. We won’t talk much about eichel here, because the choice was obvious and it will be the best thing since buffalo wings. As for the rest of the picks, what was most important was the intensity with which Tim Murray addressed the team’s need for defenders, particularly lefty defenders, throughout the draft.

    Reading: Buffalo sabres 2015 draft picks

    after shipping nikita zadorov to colorado (more on that in a bit) the sabers had very little on the way after mark pysyk and jake mccabe, who could start the season in buffalo. By adding Guhle, Borgen, Stephens and Chukarov to the mix, the Sabers added blueliners who are ideally sized (everyone is 6’1” or 6’2”) and have good to elite skating ability. the trend here was for men who have all the physical tools, but will probably need more time to mature and make the most of all those tools.

    guhle is probably the furthest along his path to the nhl, but even he’ll need another 2-3 years of junior hokey and the ahl before he’s ready to make the jump. at age 20 and attending umass in the fall, chukarov could be a dark horse to make the jump to the nhl straight from college to chad ruhwedel, while the other two are probably 3-4 years away. /p>

    The only non-defender picked out of the first round for the sabers was Giorgio Estephan, whose name I will never get tired of writing. Estephan is an exciting and creative center who is off to a terrible start this year. But with a red-hot second half, he showed the offensive ability that will force armchair GMs to keep an eye on him next season.

    Overall, the Sabers added a player who will be an immediate star for a decade or more, and replenished their defensive depth with big, physical skaters and puck drives. As those players grow and mature into juniors, saber fans will spend time unearthing new superlatives for Jack Eichel.

    the trades

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    if saber weekend was all about jack eichel, it would have been one of the most exciting in recent times. But by making two big trades in the draft, Tim Murray took this weekend’s magnitude into all-time territory.

    The first deal made on day one was to send the 21st pick to the Ottawa Senators for goaltender Robin Lehner and veteran forward David Legwand. Lehner will be the saber holder entering next season, and he’ll need to improve on his average numbers from last season to justify his price tag, especially considering that other potential goalkeeping targets, Eddie, Missing and Cam Talbot looked at much cheaper prices later in the game. weekend. .

    The second deal, consummated minutes before Eichel was drafted by the Sabers, was to send Zarov, Grigorenko, Compher and the 31st pick to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn. while losing zadorov hurts the backside, o’reilly and mcginn will be impact players next season in the front and back rows, respectively.

    If you’ve only ever heard of o’reilly’s name in trade rumors and wondering what the deal is, this guy is one heck of a front line striker. For starters, he has the ability to score over 25 goals and add 60 points like he did in the 2013-14 season with Colorado. he has a great work ethic and plays hard on both ends of the ice. He drives possession numbers better than anyone on Buffalo’s roster last year, and was second in the league in par strength points/60 minutes. and at 24, he will still be in the prime of his career for years to come as the sabers become cup contenders. Yeah, he’ll need a big contract extension after this season, but he’s the real deal on the ice, and sabers coach Dan Bylsma has already named him the No. 1 center for next season.

    As for mcginn, he’s more than just a sidekick in this deal. while the 26-year-old left winger missed much of last season after undergoing back surgery, he had 19 goals and 19 assists the year before. he plays a strong two-way game and uses his 6-foot-1, 210-pound body effectively along walls. think of him as a draw stafford with a slightly less offensive ceiling but a much better defensive game. He will fit in nicely in the back row alongside Zemgus Girgensons and Brian Gionta to form a line that can shut down opponents but still score a combined 50 goals.

    as for what sabers gave up to get lehner, legwand, o’reilly and mcginn? potential. nikita zadorov was projected to be a very good player and potentially a top pair defender, and he certainly has the talent to get there, but as we saw last year, he still has a ways to go. mikhail grigorenko has yet to figure out how to use his offensive gifts effectively in the nhl, and jt compher is probably still two years out of the nhl, and with the sabers now absolutely stacked downtown he was quickly losing a spot to play in the top nine. Picks 21 and 31 would have been absolutely fine prospects, but the Sabers still have plenty of promising prospects on the way, including Sam Reinhart, Justin Bailey, Nick Baptiste, Hudson Fasching and Linus Ullmark, to name a few. prices were high, but buffalo did not give up anything that would leave gaps in his team in the future.

    Their prospect pool isn’t as ridiculously stacked as it was a year ago, but in Eichel, O’Reilly, McGinn and Lehner, they’ve added four promising-to-excellent nhl players who will impact this team not just next year, but for many more years. And with eleven picks in the 2016 draft, the sabers will be able to restock and reload that pool in the very near future.

    next year and beyond

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    The most important thing about next season is that sabers will be good. like, a real good hockey team. they’ll barely resemble the team that finished 30th and have added an incredible amount of high-level talent while losing very little in the process.

    Zac Dalpe, Tyson Strachan, Andrej Meszaros, Andre Benoit, Jerry D’Amigo, Anders Lindback, Tim Schaller and Matt Ellis left. They’ll be replaced by Evander Kane, Ryan O’Reilly, Jack Eichel, Jamie McGinn, Robin Lehner and David Legwand, and we’re not even in free agency yet. keep in mind dan bylsma replaced ted nolan and the simple expectation that the team is ready to win rather than root for the tank and you may very well be looking at an exciting, high octane, playoff bound team in buffalo next season.

    As for the next few seasons, sabers should be pretty stable for a few more years. the only major contracts to worry about in the 2016 offseason will be o’reilly, ristolainen (rfa), mcginn and foligno (rfa), and with plenty of cap space still to work, the sabers should be in good shape . At that point, the development of players like Justin Bailey, Nick Baptiste and Hudson Fasching should have them ready to at least challenge for a spot on the big club, but it could be hard to break the top 8 Sabers forwards set for the next few years. .

    Whatever your feelings about this weekend’s trades and draft picks, it’s undeniable that this is the most exciting time to be a Sabers fan since the magic of 2005-06, and the team appears to be ready. to become a serious contender. faster than anyone thought at the start of this season. there are still some big decisions for tim murray with buys, qualifying offers and free agency around the corner, but thanks to bold moves and the addition of their pivotal player in jack eichel, murray and his staff have already managed to take this end of one of the most monumental weeks in franchise history.

    upcoming important dates

    6/29 – qualifying offers expire 6/30 – last day to buy contracts, rfas can meet with teams 7/1 – free agency opens

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