After enduring their worst season in team history, The Buffalo Sabres were expected to gain a valuable draft choice via the annual National Hockey League Draft lottery. Despite not winning the right to select first overall, the Sabres did get the second overall pick.
A team that finished dead last in the National Hockey League in goals scored with 150, offense is a top priority when the 2014 NHL Draft commences on June 27-28 in Philadelphia. Centers Samuel Bennett and Sam Reinhart will hear their names called early on draft day.
The Sabres, bereft of talent at every position, will likely draft one of the top two centers, either Samuel Bennett and Sam Reinhart. Bennett and Reinhart, ranked first and third respectively in the final pre-draft rankings from NHL Central Scouting. Bennett played in 57 games last season, scoring 36 goals and adding 55 assists for 91 points. Reinhart played in 60 games last season, also scoring 36 goals, but adding 69 assists for 105 points.
With needs everywhere, the Sabres are in a tight spot. Do they draft the best possible player, or do they swing a trade for an established player to help the team right away? A bevy of proven NHL centers have been mentioned in trade talks recently. Joe Thornton from San Jose, Ryan Kesler from Vancouver, and Jason Spezza are rumored to be on the move. Spezza, 30, scored 23 goals along with 43 assists in 75 games. It seems as though Joe Thornton has been playing forever, but he's only 34. The Sharks were completely embarrassed in the playoffs this season. After surging to a 3-0 lead in the best of seven series against the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose lost four straight games to get eliminated. Kesler, is likely to be traded as part of a rebuilding effort in Vancouver.
What will the Sabres do? Should they continue on with the rebuilding plan, adding young prospects with an eye to the future, or add veterans who can turn the team around immediately? Stay tuned because the 2014 NHL Draft is coming in less than two weeks on June 27 & 28 in Philadelphia.
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