The New York Islanders had the choice to ship their top selection in either this or next year’s draft to Buffalo to complete last autumn’s Thomas Vanek-Matt Moulson trade.
Today, their decision to keep the 5th overall pick in next month’s NHL Draft guarantees that, barring trades, in 2015 the Sabres will walk to the podium three times in just the first round alone.
Maybe someday Stephen Hawking will take the time to explain to me the reasoning for the continued employment of Garth Snow as an NHL general manager. Okay, okay, let’s be fair. Snow still has his fans, it’s just that they all seem to reside in western New York. Which is likely one place that he’ll never again have to pay for a meal.
As a result of that deal with the Islanders, and the one with St. Louis that sent Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to Missouri, the Sabres now possess three #1′s (including their own) in one of the deepest drafts in recent memory.
With a very good chance that at least two will be lottery picks, this almost has to feel like Christmas Day for new Sabres’ GM Tim Murray. Also, the Skating Blades have already stockpiled a comical number of high selections over the next couple of years. That, combined with a deep farm system and some very talented, very tradable veterans, means that it’s not out of the realm of possibility they may end up with four or more.
It’s almost certain the Isles are betting that the return of John Tavares, along with having potentially solidified their goaltending in the person of Jaroslav Halak-if they can sign him-will add up to a better record next year. And in any case it’s just too risky to simply give away a 5th overall choice which, incidentally, Thomas Vanek himself once was, for the unknown results of another season.
Whatever their reasoning, it matters not to the Sabres. In just over the time it’ll take for the Earth to make one more orbit of the sun, Buffalo’s brass will be sitting on a floor-covered sheet of ice in Sunrise, Florida. On their table will be three blue and gold #15 jerseys for three picks of the litter that should include a couple of tickets to the Connor McDavid/Jack Eichel sweepstakes.
On the long shot chance that they somehow were able to draft both, well…not being a scientist it’s probably better for me not to speculate on the logistics of just how far outside the area that the cheering in Erie County, New York could actually be heard.
In the meantime, should Mr. Snow decide to make any more trades in the interim, it’s likely a sure bet that Tim Murray would be more than happy to take his call.