Friedman: Sabres are not trading a first round pick for a rental player

Sportsnet hockey insider Elliotte Friedman mentioned the Sabres on a radio hit in Edmonton

Joe DiBiase
December 28, 2018 - 3:54 pm

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

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The Buffalo Sabres are in a very good position with the NHL Draft over the next two years. The team will have a total of four first round picks combined in the 2019 and 2020 NHL Draft, with the chance of having three first round picks this upcoming year. However, if the St. Louis Blues miss the playoffs and have a top-10 pick in the draft, their pick could become a first round pick in the 2020 draft, giving the Sabres two first round picks this year and two next year.

With the Sabres currently in pretty good shape to make the playoffs, despite some recent struggles, fans are now wondering whether they'll trade any of these picks for help right away on the roster. If there is a glaring need for the Sabres moving forward, it is with secondary scoring behind the line of Jeff Skinner, Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart. Over the last 13 games, the Sabres have had just seven goals at even strength from players that are not a part of the team's top line.

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman was on 630 CHED in Edmonton on Friday. He says that the Sabres are not willing to start trading away their first round picks for help in the short-term.

"Here's the Sabres, they've got a great chance of making the playoffs, they've really improved this year and they're going in the right direction," Friedman said with Bob Stauffer on the Oilers NOW show. "They have four first round picks in the next two years, and I heard that they were thinking of moving one of those picks to give them a better shot this year.

"I looked into it and I was told that it wasn't happening. That they're not doing it for a rental. Now if you want to do it for a 22- or 23-year-old player that they're going to have under control for a while, that they would consider giving up a first rounder for, then they would consider it. But, they're not doing it for a rental."

Several big name rentals such as Wayne Simmonds and Mats Zuccarello are likely to be available before the February 25 NHL Trade Deadline, but it sounds like the Sabres, for now, won't be in the mix on them.

It would make sense that before looking at rentals, the Sabres might want to get a look at player with the Rochester Americans that could potentially fix their issues with secondary scoring. C.J. Smith, Alex Nylander, and Victor Olofsson have all shown flashes for the Amerks this year, but haven't received any call ups.

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