Hello DBTB community! Long time listener, first time caller here looking to put my two cents into the Sabres draft discussion.
I, like the rest of the Sabre community, have been anticipating next week's draft since the first few weeks of the 2013-14 season. There have been countless theories and Armchair GM threads about what the team should/could do with their plethora of picks and prospects in the upcoming years to become a Cup Contender once again. There have been many common ideas: drafting one of the Sams, seeing if Ekblad falls to #2 and trading Myers and/or Ehrhoff, signing Ryan Callahan, trading for Evander Kane, etc.
The article that caught my attention the most, however, was a recent link making the case for the unfortunately-named "German Gretzky": Leon Draisaitl. A large body who matched Sam Reinhart's point total last season has been the Ringo of the top draft prospects. Outside of top players like Aaron Ekblad and the Sams, Leon Draisaitl is a very powerful presence that cannot be ignored. I am also starting to fall in love with skilled players like William (Andrew Michael Junior) Nylander (Altelius) and Nikolaj Ehlers that could give the Sabres an even greater haul in trading down.
Now, about the potential partners. Nylander has been slotted to go #6 to Vancouver, but I have not heard much from the Canucks' camp about wanting to make a move up into the top 5. Ehlers looks to be an 8-10 pick which lands us in the range of the Leafs, Jets, and Ducks. Toronto has been very vocal about wanting to trade up, and if they miss their opportunity to snag the #1 pick and Ekblad, could they shift their focus to the Sabres at #2?
Those possibilities are nice, but what's armchair speculation without thinking big? There's one team in particular that is looking to trade up that could greatly benefit the Buffalo Sabres: the Calgary Flames.
BUF #2, Myers, #39 ---> CAL #4, Monahan, Wideman
The purpose of this trade is to shore up an offensive core with young, elite talent at what I believe to be a reasonable cost. I am not totally familiar with Calgary's situation, but I know that they value Monahan highly and it would take a lot to get him into a Blue and Gold sweater. Maybe changing the parts to Ehrhoff, Hodgson, and the #31 selection? Adding in a prospect like Armia or Baptiste? Eating up some of Myers' contract? Although the Flames are not exactly pushing against the cap ceiling, I would imagine that they would gladly exchange an aging Wideman (and his larger cap hit) for a young, powerful (albeit, slightly more expensive) defensemen in Myers.
There are many interchangeable parts in this deal, but the goal is to solidify the top 6 with a future stud like Sean Monahan while still being able to draft another potential powerhouse in Leon Draisaitl. There is also the potential that Sam Bennett/Reinhart could still fall into Buffalo's lap if they take a short slide on draft day.
Keeping a couple second rounders in hand will hopefully allow Tim Murray and Co. to trade back in to the first round. Depending on what Calgary might want for Monahan, moving #31 and #49 to get into the middle of the round would allow the Sabres a shot at a puck moving defensemen like Roland McKeown to replace the hypothetically departed Ehrhoff/Myers. Another offensive dynamo like Ivan Barbashev or Joshua Ho-Sang could also be in the mix in the middle round madness.
I would love to be able to select Sam Reinhart or Aaron Ekblad at the #2 slot. However, as there isn't a consensus #1 player in this year's draft, could we get a larger haul by swapping picks and still being able to select and acquire elite offensive talent?
What are you guys' thoughts about trading down in the draft?