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from Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger,
Claude Lemieux thinks the Devils made a bad decision by failing to take his son, Brendan, with the 30th overall pick at the end of the first round of the NHL entry draft Friday night.
The Buffalo Sabres made the younger Lemieux the first pick of the second round Saturday morning at No. 31.
“You’ve got to respect their view and their choice,” Claude Lemieux said of the Devils. “I think they made a mistake, but it’s good for Buffalo and time will tell.”
He said Brendan was hoping to be a first-rounder.
“He was definitely disappointed. He was crushed last night,” Claude said. “It wasn’t from what I said but from all the interviews the do at the combine. Sometimes they are misleading for a lot of kids, who think, ‘This team told me they'd take me in the first round if I’m there.’ ”
added 12:38pm, Below, Watch Claude Lemieux talk about his son and being drafted by the Sabres...
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
Tim Murray made it clear he doesn’t want the Sabres to be the worst team in the NHL next season. The general manager is also well-aware Buffalo is far, far away from being a Stanley Cup contender.
So when the NHL approved changes to the 2015 Draft Lottery, he wasn’t thrilled.
“Greedily, I’m upset because I think we have more of a chance of next season being one of the lower teams, which I don’t like, but it’s just reality,” Murray said Friday. “I just think it affects the teams you see at the bottom now, so you know who you’re affecting. I’m not sure that’s fair. I think if you did it three years out, you know you’re affecting somebody, you’re affecting a bad team, but you’re not sure who that team is.”
If the Sabres follow up this year’s 30th-place finish with another one, their chances of winning the lottery and getting the No. 1 overall pick will fall from the current 25 percent to 19 percent or 20 percent. That’s a big thing with franchise talent Connor McDavid available in the top slot.
The good news for Buffalo is a bigger change won’t take place until 2016, when the top three selections will be subject to the lottery. Under that system, the last-place team could pick as low as No. 4. For 2015, the 30th-place club will pick no lower than second overall.
from John Vogl of Sabres Edge,
Tim Murray has talked, talked and talked some more to other NHL general managers about trades leading up to the draft tonight. So far, the talk has gone nowhere.
He really hopes that will change
"I actually said the amount of talking that we’ve done in the last three weeks, for it to come down to this and look like we might not do anything, I don’t know if it’s disappointing or …," the Sabres' GM said today. "I shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve been around this a long time, but it’s quiet. I think a lot of people, including myself, did a lot of tire kicking. I thought I did more than tire kicking, but I said there must be a blockbuster going on because nobody’s reaching out to us anymore."
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
“I’ve got a lot of potential deals out there that have a first coming back, whether it’s in the 20s or in the teens,” Murray said. “I have been trying hard to do that. The people I’ve talked to haven’t said no, but nobody’s called back and said, ‘Yeah, let’s do this deal.’ ”
One avenue Murray is exploring is accepting an inflated contract along with a first-round pick. Some teams are eager to rid themselves of cap-crunching deals, and the Sabres have salary cap room (plus owner Terry Pegula’s buyout power) to help out.
“I would make a trade for a large contract to get a first-round pick involved,” the GM said.
“Every trade that every team makes, money is a consideration. I’m not going to say that I would just make that trade to buy a guy out. If that happens, it happens. I may take a contract on to play here. It would depend on the player.”
more on the Sabres...
from John Vogle of Sabres Edge at the Buffalo News,
Ville Leino remains the NHL's most likely buyout candidate, but there hasn't been much talk between the Sabres and his agent.
"I have had few very short discussions about Leino with Tim Murray," Leino's agent, Markus Lehto, told The News by email.
Murray, Buffalo's general manager, has said it's a "very good possibility" the team will part ways with Leino. The NHL buyout period will begin 48 hours after the Stanley Cup final ends and continue until June 30.
It will cost the Sabres $7.333 million to buy out the remaining three seasons of Leino's contract. The team signed him to a six-year, $27 million deal in 2011, and he's already been paid $16 million.
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
So while most outsiders are fixated on the top-4 in this draft, Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray, who has the No. 2 overall pick, said his team’s success depends more on what he does with the three selections in the second round.
Those picks, said Murray, probably won’t get nearly as much attention as the first-round pick. But in a draft that is seven rounds deep, those later selections — where the Chicago Blackhawks found Niklas Hjalmarsson at 108th overall and the New York Rangers unearthed Henrik Lundqvist with the 205th pick — are often the lifeblood of the team’s future.
“I think in every draft you have the ability to rebuild and get good players, but not every draft has a Crosby or a Toews,” Murray said this week at the NHL Draft Combine in Toronto. “You have to acquire NHL players. And it’s not just with your first pick.”...
“The way to rebuild is to draft well so that you can trade well and then you use free agency to put you over the top,” said Murray. “If you can hit on a couple of seconds and a couple of thirds, you might be able to trade for that real good player down the road.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Even knowing their history, the Islanders rolled the dice again in a meaningful way this past week. With the rest of the hockey world distracted by the NHL playoffs, the Islanders notified the Buffalo Sabres that they would use their first-round pick, fifth overall, in the 2014 entry draft and defer until 2015 transferring the first-round they owe them in the Thomas Vanek deal. The Islanders scout players like the rest of the league, so they are aware that not one but potentially two generational players could be up for grabs in 2015 – Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters and Jack Eichel of the U.S. under-18 national development team.
It is the sort of draft that only comes along once in a while, one that can shift the fortunes of a franchise in one fell swoop, one that gets general managers dreaming about ping pong balls and the luck of the lottery draw.
And now, assuming they stay bad for at least one more year, the Sabres will get two cracks at McDavid and Eichel – and wouldn’t it be something if they ended up with both? Hockey in Western New York might never be the same.
The Islanders, meanwhile, are gambling that the return to health of John Tavares and the decision to sign goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a four-year contract, thus stabilizing a woefully erratic position, will make them a playoff team - or if not a playoff team, close enough that the chances of winning the draft lottery and moving into a top-two position are negligible.
more plus other hockey topics like the Washington Capitals and Jeff Carter...
BUFFALO, N.Y. (April 16, 2014) --- The Buffalo Sabres today announced several changes to the team’s coaching staff, effective immediately: Assistant coaches Joe Sacco and Jerry Forton have been offered reassignment within the organization’s hockey department; the contract of assistant coach Teppo Numminen will not be renewed; goaltending coach Jim Corsi will not return as part of the team’s staff next season.
from Mike Harrington of Sabres Edge at the Buffalo News,
The Buffalo Sabres' rebuild starts in earnest tonight with the NHL Draft Lottery in Toronto, after what General Manager Tim Murray admitted was an "unacceptable" last-place season.
Murray and coach Ted Nolan met with reporters today in a wrap to the Sabres' 21-51-10 trainwreck of a season, the worst by an NHL team in 14 years. And Murray was frank in his assessment of what happened and what he'll do going forward. He said he pulled no punches when he met with his players yesterday prior to the taking of the annual team photo.
"This year was completely unacceptable," Murray said. "I told them it wasn't all on them. It was on management, it was on coaching staff. A lot of it was on injuries where we had to put people into positions that they aren't ready for. So that's out of our hands. As far as coming next year and being ready to battle for jobs, there's going to be competition and we're not going to hand jobs to come in unless they deserve it."
"A lot of nights it was hard to watch," Murray said a few minutes later. "A lot of nights we competed hard and just didn't have enough talent to put us over the top but other nights weren't pretty."
from John Vogle of Sabres Edge,
The most significant record the Sabres can set is fewest goals scored in a season (post-1967 expansion). Tampa Bay set the NHL mark in 1997-98 with 151 goals. The Sabres have 147. Buffalo is averaging 1.82 goals per game.
As for franchise records, the Sabres are assured of three:
*Buffalo's season-low goal total is 190 set in 2002-03. The Sabres need to score 44 times against the Islanders to avoid that. (Sure would make for an interesting "Fan Appreciation Night," wouldn't it?)
*The Sabres will have the fewest double-digit goal-scorers in team history. The record is seven, set in 2011-12. Buffalo has just four this year. Zemgus Girgensons needs two goals to make it five, and Marcus Foligno needs a hat trick to make it six.
there is more...
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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