First and foremost, I’d like to say that Jason Pominvilles comments in yesterdays Buffalo News Sports Section make me sick. Our “all-star” was quoted saying the following :
"We have full confidence in the guys that are in place, full confidence in the guys that are in the locker room," Pominville said. "Our focus is on Lindy to be there. We want to win with him. We want to win with Darcy. We've been a part of this for a long time. It's no different for them. We're all in this together.”
This dude is as brainwashed as the rest of em. I respect his loyalty but is losing so engrained in these guys that they really believe this? You’re in last place bro wake up!!!! If it was any of the other 29 real teams in the league, you would’ve never got $5m + and you would’ve been on a squad somewhere else. Anyways onto the main point of this article.
The Sabres need to trade whatever they can for the first overall pick. Although there is decent value and finds after the first overall pick, it’s pretty much a lock that you’re getting an elite player with the #1 selection. As it stands now Buffalo is 4th last in the league. If post All-Star break history tells us anything the Sabres will make a strong push. However, if they were smart they’d tank the season. Any self-respecting athlete would never do that and I see a 6th-10th pick coming our way in June. Since the “new” NHL didn’t start until post-lockout, let’s go back to 2004 to review the #1 overall selection.
2011: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oilers (Canada)
2010: Taylor Hall, Oilers (Canada)
2009: John Tavares, Islanders (Canada)
2008:Steven Stamkos. Lightning (Canada)
2007: Patrick Kane, Blackhawks (USA)
2006: Erik Johnson, Blues (USA)
2005: Sidney Crosby, Penguins (Canada)
2004: Alex Ovechkin, Capitals (Russia)
Looking at this class how could you not want the first overall pick. The only “miss” in this group is Erik Johnson. That term is thrown around lightly as he is a shutdown, offensive-defensive, who has had a 39-point season as well as represented Team USA in Vancouver in 2010. The only reason he may even be considered a slight miss is because in 2006 the selections after Johnson included: #2 Jordan Staal, #3 Jonathan Toews, #4 Nicklas Backstrom, and #5 Phil Kessel.
Although the #2 pick also pushes out very good NHL players, it is more the rule than the exception that #2 is a far step back from #1. One exception may be 2004 when Evgeni Malkin was taken right after Ovie. Although Ovie is a much more complete player, Malkin’s numbers aren’t far off and he has a Cup. The rest of the #2 overall picks are as follows:
2005: Bobby Ryan, Ducks (USA)
2006: Jordan Staal, Penguins (Canada)
2007: van Riemsdyk (USA)
2008: Drew Doughty, Kings (Canada)
2009: Victor Hedman, Lightning (Sweden)
2010: Tyler Seguin, Bruins (Canada)
2011: Gabriel Landeskog, Avalance (Sweden)
An argument can be made for Tyler Seguin but career numbers don’t like and Seguin played on a Stanley Cup powerhouse while Hall was on the last place Oilers. As we get closer to June’s draft more and more prospects will come through. NHL scouts do a pretty good job of hitting on who the number 1 guy should be. This is why the Sabres should trade whatever they can to get the first pick. Trade your entire draft. Your “franchise” goalie. Top prospects. “Core” guys. It doesn’t matter.
Let’s use 2009 and John Tavares as an example. Because all of the other guys have been around longer, their numbers are much better and the guys from 2010 and 2011 you still can’t get a great read on. The Sabres 2009 draft went like this: Mark Pysyk (D), Jerome Gauthier-Leduc (D), Steven Shipley (C) , Greg Sutch (RW), Cedric Henley (LW), and Christian Isackson (RW). Unless you’re a die-hard have you ever heard of anyone after Pysyk? Mean while Tavares will be making making his NHL ALL-Star Game debut this Sunday as he average more than a point per game this year. That is following his rookie campaign of 67 points in 79 games on a bad team. Oh and he resigned for 6 years 33 mil. Sounds like a steal for a #1 center to me.
Okay, let’s go back a year and use 2008. Steven Stamkos has had seasons of 46, 95 and 91 points- hitting 23 goals his rookie year, followed by 51 and then 45 with an NHL Cover Appearance. This year he’s currently 4th in the league with 52 points (32 goals) through 47 games. That would make his career total 284 points in 290 career regular season games. The Sabres draft consisted of Tyler Myers (D), Tyler Ennis (RW) (both round 1), Luke Adam (C), Corey Fienhage (D), Justin Jokinen (RW), Jordon Southorn (D), Jacob Lagace (LW), and Nick Crawford (D). Aside from Myers and Ennis have you heard of any of these guys? Myers had a great rookie campaign and is one of the rare guys the Sabres threw into the mix right away. It took Ennis 2 years in the minors until he came up and had 48 point “rookie” season. Myers slumped his sophomore year and Stamkos finished 5th in the league in scoring. 3rd year in the league? Myers struggled, then got back to form…Stamkos finished 5th again with 91 points.
The point is the Sabres do a decent job of drafting guys, and developing them. They seem to have 1 or 2 good years before their talent seems to be haulted for whatever reasons. Draft a #1 guy that can contribute immediately and lets get this franchise back on track.