While their first-round pick in next week’s NHL Entry Draft is a no-brainer, there is still a lot of decision-making in Buffalo. One key change that Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill has said he needs to make is the improvement of their drafting, most particularly, the drafting of players later in the draft, especially from the third-round and on, according to the Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington.
The main reason for that is the team’s inability to get players drafted in the third round or later to contribute to the Sabres’ team. Since 2010, the Sabres have had seven goals from any player drafted in the third round or later — all from 2013 third-round pick Nicholas Baptiste.
“Those later picks show the importance of having a strong organization across the board,” Botterill said. “When you’re dealing with mid-round picks and later-round picks, it’s making sure your amateur staff brings in the right people and then having a strong developmental model.”
The team has already seen some success in Botterill’s first draft last season when he selected Casey Mittlestadt in the first round, which looks to be a solid pick. However, it’s some of their other picks that already seem to be working out as second-rounder Marcus Davidsson and third-round pick Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen are getting solid reviews after their first season since being drafted.
- While Carolina Hurricanes’ defenseman Justin Faulk has been linked to the Edmonton Oilers many times since the NHL season ended, the Edmonton Journal’s David Staples writes that his value shouldn’t be as high as many project Faulk to hold. The scribe writes that while the Oilers would be interested in acquiring the 26-year-old blueliner, his minus-26 rating and 12 even-strength points don’t suggest that the Oilers should be giving up a top talent or a high draft pick for him.
- Sticking with the Oilers, rumors suggesting that the Oilers are considering trading center Leon Draisaitl are erroneous, according to Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson. The scribe writes there is no way Edmonton would trade Draisaitl, who the team signed to an eight-year, $68MM contract a year ago, not even for Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson. The 21-year-old has scored 54 goals and 147 points in the past two seasons.
- In a separate tweet, Matheson writes that the Oilers could be interested in acquiring Dallas Stars defenseman Julius Honka, who could find himself without a spot in Dallas’ crowded defense. However, the scribe writes that Honka isn’t worth the No. 10 pick in next week’s draft. He suggests the team offer their second-round pick in hopes of acquiring the 22-year-old right-shot defenseman. Despite looking early in training camp last season as a key youngster to make the team, Honka found himself on the outside looking in as he had trouble breaking in to the team’s lineup. In 42 games last season with the Stars, the 2014 first-rounder played 13:01 of ATOI and posted just four points in limited action.