With the 2014 NHL Draft just over two weeks away, rumors and speculation will begin to heat up, and yesterday we got ourselves a juicy one. A report came out from ESPN's Pierre LeBrun saying that Tim Murray was looking to use various means to acquire a second 1st round draft selection:
"I can’t imagine I would trade the second overall pick," Murray said. "I’d like to get a couple of more first-round picks and I have those three third-rounders [Ed Note: He means second rounders] to use. I certainly know you can’t trade a second for a first, but you might take some money back in a deal to do that and I do have to get to the (cap) floor. There are different ways to get to the floor so I’m exploring all that."
The Sabres are in a unique position to acquire another first rounder thanks to two unique assets they have that a number of teams don't - their bevy of second round picks both this year and next, and their abundance of cap space, which CapGeek currently estimates to be about $32 million under the projected cap.
The second rounders and the team's deep prospect pool allow them flexibility to be aggressive, calling up other GMs and really going after a pick they want in a certain area of the draft. The cap space allows them to be creative, looking to take on large expiring contracts in a very NBA-like way to acquire the picks they want. Even though the cap is reported to exceed $70 million next season, free agent contracts are expected to similarly balloon, and high priced teams could be looking to create more flexibility for themselves now in exchange for giving up a small piece of their future.
Murray is smart to look at what few advantages the Buffalo Sabres have over other organizations, and to use those assets to his advantage. Are there any bloated, expiring contracts you could see the Sabres going after? Where do you think Murray wants to move back into the first round? Sound off in the comments.