General manager Tim Murray was all business at his first NHL Draft, wasting little time making his picks. The Buffalo Sabres are quite deep at every position, but since the focus was on defensemen last year with Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov, the attention shifted toward forwards this year. The Sabres used seven of their nine draft picks on forwards, including four in the first two rounds.
The parent club was in shambles for much of the 2013-14 season, but the plight of the Buffalo Sabres did not adversely affect the development of their deep pool of prospects. Though the Rochester Americans felt the effects of Buffalo's roster shuffle throughout the season, the organization's prospects at the junior and amateur levels performed well, with the majority of them qualifying for the playoffs in their respective leagues.
If the decline of the Buffalo Sabres had to reach its darkest depths before progressing upwards, the 2013-14 season was certainly the franchise's lowest point. At various points throughout the season, the team was in a state of flux, either in the front office, behind the bench, or on the ice.
With over 40 prospects currently in their system, and at least 10 picks in the first two rounds of the 2014 and 2015 NHL Drafts, the Buffalo Sabres are aggressively re-building. Two players graduate from the fall Top 20 rankings – former University of Maine standout Brian Flynn is now a fixture with the big club and winger Corey Tropp is now a Columbus Blue Jacket after being waived in November.
The 2009 NHL Draft was the first for Chuck Fletcher as the Wild's second General Manager. From our vantage point today, Wild's team performed admirably in commencing the tough work of resetting a franchise whose fortunes had been dimmed early on by a combination of myopia and bad luck at the draft board.