Could Thomas Vanek follow Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild? Should the Sabres try to move up in the first round? Could they shop draft picks for roster depth? Read on for the latest.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl reports his paper’s analysis suggests it would be better for the Sabres to trade up in the first round (they currently hold the eighth overall pick in this year’s draft) if they hope to land a quality player. He noted only twice in the last 25 years has a team holding the eighth overall pick traded up, and in both cases it was worthwhile. The NY Islanders did it in 1992 and selected Darius Kasparaitis, and the Carolina Hurricanes did it in 2004 and selected Andrew Ladd.
Bucky Gleason reports he wouldn’t be surprised if Thomas Vanek wound up with the Minnesota Wild once his contract expires next summer, suggesting he might be willing to accept less money to play there. Vanek’s wife is from Minnesota and he spends his off-seasons there.
BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont reports Sabres GM Darcy Regier has “stockpiled a bunch of draft picks”, which he hinted could be dealt to land some high-end talent, similar to the moves made by the LA Kings to acquire Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen, of course, what moves Regier has in mind, but if his moves leading up to this season’s trade deadline were any indication, he intends to be bold. He could try to move up in the first round, but it takes two to tango, and given the talent available in the top five of this year’s draft, those ahead of him might be unwilling to deal. It’s also expected he’ll try to shop Ryan Miller, and there could certainly be interest in Vanek. The winger might be interested in going back to Minnesota, where he played his college hockey, but considering the Wild currently have over $30 million invested in only eight players for 2014-15, they probably can’t afford Vanek unless they drop salary elsewhere.