The annual NHL Draft takes place on July 7 & 8 in the Bell Centre in Montreal. For the first time since 1985, the team hosting the draft will pick first overall. The rest of the league’s franchises will jockey for position, making deals and trades, trying to get the best hockey talent for their team.
Montreal gets to draft first and the Habs have 14 picks to choose from. However, the Buffalo Sabres are also in an enviable spot, with 11 draft choices available.
Sabres GM Kevyn Adams is in a position many other NHL general managers would like to be. While Buffalo doesn’t have the first pick overall, like last year, the Blue & Gold still have some good cards in their hockey deck.
Not only does Adams enjoy 11 draft picks, which he can either trade or use, the team is sitting on more than $35 million in cap space. Lots of picks and lots of cash is a good position for any GM to be in.
The question for Sabres fans everywhere is, what will Kevyn Adams do? Let’s look at some possible options:
1) Will Adams Trade Up?
With three picks in the first round, the Sabres don’t have to be satisfied with waiting for eight other franchises to make their selections before going with their three picks. Adams can trade with another GM, however, other teams in the top five such as Arizona, Seattle and Philadelphia need depth in their rosters and would want too much in return for a top five forward or defenseman.
Also, there are good players up and down the first-round list. The Sabres don’t need to give up the store for a high draft pick and could probably draft just as well lower down. Adams implied as much when he told NHL.com that “I think it’s pretty deep right down to 20, 25, 30 on our list.” Based on that statement, it’s more likely the Sabres will make a trade at 28th than 9th or 16th and not trade up.
One exception could be goaltending. Buffalo has Craig Anderson and UPL, but if either of these two get injured, the team needs a backup. Bishop is currently out. The goalies aren’t drafted until Day 2, but there are a number of good netminders available. It’s possible the Sabres will make a major move on the second night of the Draft, not the first.
2) Will Adams Trade Down?
If he can get a decent deal. Adams said the Sabres are open to making trades with other teams both above and below them in the NHL Draft. The old saying “beggars can’t be choosers” doesn’t apply here. The Sabres are in a position of strength, not weakness. Don’t expect the Sabres’ GM to trade down unless it’s for something really good in return. It’s far more certain other GMs lower on the list will try to trade up to get a higher draft choice, like Buffalo’s.
3) Will Adams Spend Cap Money on a Top Veteran Goalie?
As I mentioned before, Buffalo’s major weakness is in front of the net. The Sabres need an experienced goaltender to block shots for a few more years until the team’s young netminding prospects are NHL ready.
Goalies including Jack Campbell, Mikko Koskinen, Marc-André Fleury and Braden Holtby are available. The biggest name, of course, is Stanley Cup champion goalie Darcy Kuemper. The veteran goaltender is a hot commodity and Adams has the cash to make a move to get him. Will he? If he doesn’t, other GMs certainly will.
What do you think Adams will do?
What Will Buffalo Sabres GM Kevyn Adams Do in the 2022 NHL Draft?
This poll is closed
A-Trade Up For a Higher Draft Pick
B-Trade Down For a Lower Draft Pick
C-Keep the Sabres’ 9th, 16th and 28th Picks
D-Spend Cap Money on a Veteran Goalie