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NHL Entry Draft

Brendan Lemieux has strong hockey genes. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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PHILADELPHIA – Brendan Lemieux thought he flunked his recent interview with the Buffalo Sabres badly. The team pushed the 18-year-old, grilling him about his relationship with his Barrie Colts teammates and other difficult subjects.

“We made it uncomfortable for him a little bit,” Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray said Saturday after selecting Lemieux 31st overall at the NHL Entry Draft.

But the way Lemieux, the son of legendary NHL agitator and playoff hero Claude Lemieux, handled the questioning impressed Buffalo’s decision-makers, …

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The Sabres drafted Brycen Martin 74th overall. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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PHILADELPHIA – The rebuilding Buffalo Sabres added nine new prospects, seven of them forwards, including No. 2 pick Sam Reinhart, at the NHL Entry Draft this weekend. Of course, hold any judgments on their performance for three or four years.

On Saturday afternoon, however, in the afterglow of his first draft, general manager Tim Murray called it “outstanding,” saying, “Our guys are happy.”

“We have a potential top-two center that can play for us next year,” he said about Reinhart inside the …

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Brendan Lemieux thought he would be a first-round pick. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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PHILADELPHIA – Brendan Lemieux left the NHL Entry Draft on Friday night “crushed,” the agitating winger said. The 18-year-old figured he was a surefire first-round selection.

Then everyone passed on Lemieux, the son Claude Lemieux, one of the most notorious pests and clutch players in NHL history.

“They gave one of the more fiery guys in the draft, I’d say, a lot more fire,” Lemieux said this morning after the Buffalo Sabres started the second day of the NHL Entry Draft by …

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The Sabres put Sam Reinhart at the top of their list in May. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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PHILADELPHIA – Sam Reinhart said he had been “prepared for it for a long time.” The slick 18-year-old center knew the Buffalo Sabres, a team desperate for elite forward talent, wanted to draft him with the No. 2 pick.

“I’ve certainly visualized myself in this uniform,” Reinhart said Friday inside the Wells Fargo Center after the Sabres selected him at the NHL Entry Draft. “I’m just thrilled and ecstatic to really make an impact there and go to Buffalo for the …

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Florida selected Aaron Ekblad No. 1. ©2014, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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PHILADELPHIA – The Buffalo Sabres’ chances of winning the Connor McDavid sweepstakes could be taking a small hit.

General manager Tim Murray said Friday the NHL will likely alter its draft lottery next year.

What’s going to happen?

Murray said the odds of the league’s worst team getting the No. 1 pick will drop from 25 percent to about 19 or 20 percent. The tradeoff? The 30th team can’t fall past the No. 2 spot.

The Sabres, despite a league-low 52 points last season, …

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Sam Reinhart answers questions tonight. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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PHILADELPHIA – Sam Reinhart said he had been “prepared for it for a long time.” The slick 18-year-old center knew the Buffalo Sabres wanted to draft him with the No. 2 pick.

“I’ve certainly visualized myself in this uniform,” Reinhart said tonight inside the Wells Fargo Center after the Sabres made him the first forward taken at the NHL Entry Draft.

If Reinhart has his way, he’ll be wearing that Sabres uniform on opening night in October. The Kootenay Ice star believes …

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Sam Reinhart is the Sabres' highest draft pick since 2003. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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PHILADELPHIA – Not surprising, the Buffalo Sabres selected slick center Sam Reinhart with the No. 2 pick tonight at the NHL Entry Draft inside the Wells Fargo Center.

The Sabres desperately need elite talent up, and Reinhart, a star with the Western Hockey League’s Kootenay Ice, could be a franchise forward someday.

The Florida Panthers selected stud defenseman Aaron Ekblad No. 1 overall. Ekblad’s the first defender taken first since the St. Louis Blues took Erik Johnson in 2006.

Stay tuned for quotes …

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Tim Murray knows the Sabres will be in contention for a lottery pick again. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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PHILADELPHIA – Some notes from Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray’s chat with the media today prior tonight’s NHL Entry Draft:

– Murray said changes are probably coming to the NHL Draft Lottery next year, which could hurt the Sabres greatly. The NHL Board of Governors discussed the alterations Thursday.

The odds of the league’s worst team getting the No. 1 pick will drop from 25 percent to about 19 or 20 percent, Murray said. The tradeoff? The 30th team can’t fall …

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Sam Reinhart could be a franchise-level talent someday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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PHILADELPHIA – If the past tells us anything, some of these shiny NHL Entry Draft prospects, the ones expected to save their team’s sagging fortunes after getting picked early tonight, will be busts at the next level.

“We know that one or two of them aren’t going to have an impact in the National Hockey League,” Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray said last week. “It’s which one or two. We hope we know which one or two it is.”

The Sabres, …

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Florida selected Aleksander Barkov second overall last year. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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PHILADELPHIA – How good are the Buffalo Sabres’ odds of nabbing a franchise talent with the No. 2 pick tonight? Take a look at the list below.

It can be argued the last 15 picks have been strong hits. The list includes 50-goal scorers, perennial NHL All-Stars and even future Hall of Famers.

In their 44-year history, the Sabres have never owned the second pick. Twice they’ve had the No. 1 pick, 1970, when they chose Gilbert Perreault, and 1987, when they …

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