The Buffalo Sabres own the first-overall pick in the 2021 Draft, but could they be interested in landing the second-overall pick also?
It’s clear that the Buffalo Sabres are heading into a new, rebuilding era and are keen on adding more assets that can help them shape the team over the next half-decade plus, with early-round draft picks likely to be high on their requirements for any future trades.
Talks over a move that would see star centre Jack Eichel get his fresh start are beginning to ramp up, and with his obvious first-line talent, it would be reasonable for the Sabres to demand a high first-rounder in the 2021 or 2022 Draft.
The same could arguably be said for Sam Reinhart, who has eclipsed the 20-goal mark in five of his six full seasons in the NHL, presenting the Sabres with an opportunity to load up on prospects right at the start of this new beginning.
Finding the right trade partner is always crucial for NHL teams, with plenty of examples of other teams fleecing each other or even making subsequent moves that make many question the initial trade – such as the two trades involving Mike Hoffman moving from Ottawa to San Jose and then on to Florida.
For the Buffalo Sabres, there could be an intriguing trade partner in the form of the league’s youngest team – the Seattle Kraken.
The Kraken will select one player from every other NHL team, except the Vegas Golden Knights, in the upcoming Expansion Draft, but will also have the opportunity to draft their first prospect when they are on the clock with the second-overall pick in the regular Entry Draft.
This year’s draft is a legitimate question mark for many, with the talent expected to be of a lower quality compared to previous years, and with very few opportunities for prospects to play, let alone be scouted in great depth.
This has led many to value 2022 picks more highly, and the opportunity to land legitimate NHL players could be enticing to many teams this year – which presents the Kraken with an interesting dilemma.
The aforementioned players, Eichel and Reinhart, would be legitimate top-line players for most teams in the NHL, and both would arguably be better than any other forward that Seattle could select in the expansion draft.
For the Kraken, the opportunity to land a player that could become one of the faces of the fledgling franchise in exchange for the second-overall pick, which there is still no true consensus over who should be taken with it, may be something that is beneficial to both sides.
The pick and the player would likely be part of a package deal, perhaps with the Sabres even trying to find a way to persuade the Kraken to select a specific player from them in the expansion.
With Buffalo eager to stockpile prospects and work on building a young roster with plenty of potential over the coming seasons, having the first two selections in this year’s draft would give them that opportunity.
For Seattle, allowing a high pick that has arguably more questions around it than answers to be moved in exchange for an immediate, impact player, may be something that both sides could be willing to hold talks over.
There could be a mutual benefit in many ways if the Buffalo Sabres and Seattle Kraken were to begin a dialogue over their respective situations, and it could be something that gains traction as the off-season grinds along and the dates of the expansion and entry drafts grow closer.