The Buffalo Sabres have set themselves up to potentially have two, top-10 picks in next year's draft, as the New York Islanders have elected to defer the draft pick Buffalo will receive in the Thomas Vanek deal.
Whether they're public about it or not, the Sabres are hoping to win the Connor McDavid sweepstakes. The Sabres will certainly be at the bottom of the league next season. They need too much help to bring them to even a competitive state.
The Islanders could go either way next season. Garth Snow is fighting for his job after dropping the ball in acquiring Vanek, just to let him go for next to nothing at the trade deadline. They were a playoff team last season, followed by a miserable season this year. The Islanders will hope that they can strike gold in this year's draft, at least enough to make next year's pick expendable.
The best-case scenario for Buffalo, in the sense of the draft anyway, would be to finish at the bottom of the league, and have the Islanders follow their trail. Even if Buffalo loses the draft lottery again, they could package those picks to move into the top spot for McDavid, if they so wish.
No fan base wants to see their team tank, and no player in their right mind would purposely tank a season for the team to draft a player that could possibly be their replacement. Still, the Sabres are expected to finish near the bottom of the standings next season, which isn't the worst season to do so. They can only hope that the Islanders are just as awful. That would help speed up Buffalo's rebuilding process.
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