Depth Charges – How Buffalo’s Struggles in the Draft Have Led Them to the Basement

Despite nearly a dozen offseason acquisitions, the Buffalo Sabres continue to tread water at the bottom of the league, leaving many fans to wonder if there will ever be a way out of the NHL’s basement.

Their protracted struggles have been attributed to just about anything and everything the organization has done over the past half-decade. But the one talking point that’s rarely acknowledged, if at all, has been how Buffalo’s struggles at the draft have led to a lack of contributors throughout the lineup.

When Tim Murray said he wasn’t interested in a five-year rebuild, he meant it. He took steps to speed up the building process, dealing for established NHL players as opposed to waiting on the assets he and Darcy Regier had worked to accumulate. In a way, it was wise. It’s likely that many of the key assets the Sabres dealt would only be making their NHL debut this season, leaving the club with holes to fill over the past two-plus years. Had the Sabres opted to backfill the roster with veteran stop gaps as they waited for those prospects to mature, it stands to reason they’d be in about the same spot they are now with just as much fan discontent about their progress.

The results can’t be ignored though. While Ryan O’Reilly and Evander Kane have been good they haven’t been nearly good enough to put the Sabres over the top. Murray’s gamble on injecting the roster with NHL talent to hasten the rebuild simply didn’t pay off, leaving a disjointed collection of talent without a proper supporting cast.

For the most part, the lackluster results of 2017-18 sit firmly in Murray’s lap. However, he alone doesn’t own all of the Sabres’ problems. His high-profile moves amplified Buffalo’s lack of blue chip prospects, but the pipeline was thinning well before Murray’s tenure began. Continue reading

Drafting the Sabres: All-Time greatest picks

With the draft just two weeks away, I’ve been taking a look at some different points in Buffalo Sabres draft history. As the Sabres enter a draft with two valuable first round selections and two more second round choices, I thought I’d take a look at the best players selected in each round throughout franchise history.

Much like the All-Time first round picks post I ran earlier this week, this is to serve as a comprehensive breakdown of the best player the Sabres have found in each round of the draft dating back to their first selections in 1970. While the draft extended upwards of 12 rounds years ago, I only took this to round 10 as the pickings were slim enough past the seventh round. In addition to the primary choice for each round I will add in other, random, picks from throughout Sabres history. Some will be great picks while others will be fun to remember where they were chosen.

Starting with the first round, here is the All-Time Sabres draft breakdown: Continue reading

Drafting the Sabres: All-Time first round selections

For the second-straight year, the Sabres enter the NHL Entry Draft with a pair of first round selections. Slotted in at eight and 16, the Sabres will have the opportunity to round out their portfolio of first round picks at an even 50 after 43 years of drafting.

In honor of picks 49 and 50 being made at the end of this month, I went through each of the first round picks the Sabres have made and have compiled a fantasy draft, of sorts, that chronicles the best selection made at each pick in the first round throughout the Sabres history.

There are ten spots the Sabres have never picked. Picks two, three, four, eight, nineteen, twenty-five and twenty-seven through thirty. Buffalo has made a handful of supplementary picks in some of those spots, but I chose not to include them in this practice. Starting with the 30th selection, here is the All-Time Sabres first round: Continue reading