A Defining Draft Day for Tim Murray & The Sabres – Part 2

So after the morning trade by the Sabres, all eyes were now on the afternoon draft and expectation that the Sabres would select Jack Eichel as their 2nd overall pick in the first round.

The Duo of Ryan O'Reilly and Jamie McGinn heading to Buffalo

The Duo of Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn heading to Buffalo

Just as everyone was settling down for the actual Draft though rumours broke on social media that the Sabres were talking to Colorado Avalanche about center Ryan O’Reilly.

So what was the deal all about? Well it turns out i was all around the number 31 pick that the sabres had.  It was another large trade that saw Nikita Zadorov, Mikhail Grigorenko, JT Compher and the 31st pick go to Colorado and in return the Sabres received Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn.

Both Zadorov and Grigorenko were decent enough prospects in Buffalo.  Zadorov played 60 games last season on the Sabres blue line in his first NHL season after being drafted as the 16th overall pick in 2013.

Meanwhile Grigorenko split the season between the Sabrs and their AHL affiliate in Rochester for the 2nd season in a row after he was drafted as the 12th overall pick in 2012.  His output is Rochester was fairly decent with 14 goals and 22 assists in his 41 appearances but he had just 3 goals and 3 assists in 25 games with the Sabres last season.

Also in the deal was JT Compher who was selected in round 2, 35th overall, in the 2013 draft.  He spent last season at the University of Michigan and will captain that team this season.

Ryan O'Reilly scoring for the Avs

Ryan O’Reilly scoring for the Avs

In getting O’Reilly the Sabres have gained a genuine number 1 centre who at only 24 has the potential to be a franchise player for some time.  He had 17 goals and 38 assists with the Avs last season and could be the perfect man to feed a fully fit Evander Kane this season.

With O’Reilly now in town It certainly gives you very good top line potential which I’m sure we will see develop during training camp and also pre season.

Jamie McGinn hopefully adding some scoring for the Sabres

Jamie McGinn hopefully adding some much needed scoring for the Sabres

Also arriving in Buffalo is Jamie McGinn who will be entering his 8th season in the NHL.  McGinn is a former San Jose Shark who was then traded to Colorado in the 2011/12 season.  Last season he only iced for 19 games but in his previous season he registered 19 goals and 19 assists in 79 games as well as 2 goals and 3 assists in 7 playoff games.

McGinn has also played on the same line as O’Reilly so it’ll be interesting to see if Dan Bylsma will look at utilising them together.

Finally the dust settled after the trade and the Sabres got down to the business of the Draft itself and following the Edmonton Oilers selecting Connor McDavid (#PrayForMcDavid) at the number 1 pick all eyes were on the Sabres.

The Sabres 2nd Overall Draft Pick - Jack Eichel

The Sabres 2nd Overall Draft Pick – Jack Eichel

In true Tim Murray style he kept things brief and to the point, walking up to the mic and simply saying “The Buffalo Sabres select Jack Eichel”.  Finally the Sabres have their man.

Eichel is a wonderful player and looks like he will be one of the superstars that the Buffalo Sabres need to finally win a Stanley Cup.  I for one am certainly excited to see him pull on a Sabres jersey.

Jack had 26 goals and 45 assists for Boston University last season in just 40 games, as well as playing on the US national team at the World Championships and also won the Hobey Baker Award for the best Collegiate Player last season.

Had Connor McDavid not have been in the draft, any other year Eichel would have been the number 1 overall pick.  I’m just glad we have him on our team.

So with the draft now done and dusted and having time now to sit back, catch my breath and look at what the Sabres have achieved during the draft it is safe to say that true to his word Tim Murray is making the Sabres better every day!

In fact on the Day in question I would say the Sabres got unbelievably better.  This draft day will certainly live in the memories of us sabres fans for a while and given the love for Tim Murray at the minute the atmosphere in Buffalo must be incredible.  It certainly is a defining day in the organisation’s recent history.

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Sabres Making Changes!

Well after my last blog about the Sabres the wheels have certainly come off the bus.  Since the turn of the new year the Sabres have won just 2 out of 17 games and now find themselves 30 out of 30 team in the NHL standings, this also included a 14 game losing streak!

Sabres GM Tim Murray

Sabres GM Tim Murray looking to rebuild.

Yesterday finally saw GM Tim Murray announce a trade, which was then followed quickly by a 2nd trade.

In his press conference the GM was very open, as he always seems to be, something that I really like and something that is very good to see.

In fact he was so open that he freely admitted that he was ‘pissed off’ with the Sabres 14 game losing streak that sees them sit as the worst team in the NHL.

Myers & Stafford on their way to the Jets.

Tyler Myers & Drew Stafford are heading to the Jets.

So at midday Murray announced that a trade had been made with the Winnipeg Jets.

On their way to the Jets are Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford along with prospects Joel Armia, Brendan Lemieux and a 1st round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Both Myers and Stafford have both been Sabres stalwarts for a long time, Myers though for me has not really show his real potential since 2009/10 when he won the Calder Trophy for the best NHL Rookie.  His season stats show he has 4 Goals, 9 Assists but a +/- rating of -15 through 47 games this season.

Stafford, who’s been with the Sabres since 2004, for me has possibly been one of the Sabres most consistent performers despite picking up a couple of injuries. His leadership has also been very good and he has 9 Goals, 15 Assists with a +/- of -18 through 50 games so far this season.  The other thing to note was that Stafford was an UFA in the summer so maybe the timing is spot on.

For me I think the timing of this trade is right, Sabres had to make a move and to get anywhere it was always going to be our better players that had to move.  Despite giving away a 1st round pick we still actually have 2 more available so that doesn’t really hurt us.

With the prospects its hard to say whether its a good or bad move, both though are players I expect to have decent NHL careers but only time will tell if we have traded away potential superstars.

Buffalo Bound - Kane & Bogosian

Buffalo Bound – Evander Kane & Zach Bogosian.

So in return for all this the Sabres will receive Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian and college prospect goalie Jason Kasdorf.

Kane though we won’t see until next season due to him requiring to go under the knife to repair a torn labrum.

The Jets had made it clear over the last week or so that they were listening to offers for Kane but I don’t think anyone could’ve predicted a trade this big.

In 37 games with the Jets this season Kane has scored 10 goals and has 12 assists with a +/- of just -1.  With him being just 23 years of age it’s a really good fit with the Sabres and I will look forward to seeing in a Sabres Jersey for what could be an improved season next year.

Bogosian will however be on the ice in a Sabres jersey this season, he’s been a fair steady performer with the Jets with 3 goals and 10 assists in 41 outings so far.  His +/- is also a nice +1, he is a good strong guy and will also play possible in all situations.

The final part of this trade will also see College prospect goalie Jason Kasdorf join the organisation and give us further depth at this position.  Although not having any real standout superstar goalie we do seem to have plenty of potential depth at this position.

So overall, despite giving away a couple of our best players this trade has plenty of longer term benefits to the Sabres.  Myers & Stafford have been great players for us and I’m sure the fans will give them a massive ovation when they return some day soon but in the mean time this is just another step in the rebuilding process.

GM Tim Murray is not afraid to make big trades after all he traded with the Blues last year when both Ryan Miller and Captain Steve Ott were traded for Jaroslav Halak, who was moved on straight away, and also Chris Stewart.  Murray admitted in his press conference he’s very open that he will listen to any offers.  Although there are some guys he doesn’t want to let move on!