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 chose Pierre Turgeon, whose son, Dominic, should be selected this weekend. This is the Sabres’ highest pick since they took Thomas Vanek at No. 5 in 2003.
Here’s a look at the No. 2 picks dating back to 1999.
2013, center Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers
Career totals: 54 games, eight goals, 24 points
Comment: Up-and-coming star on a rebuilding team.
2012, defenseman Ryan Murray, Columbus Blue Jackets
Career totals: 66 games, four goals, 21 points
Comment: Played almost 20 minutes a game as a rookie for a playoff team last season.
2011, winger Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche
Career totals: 199 games, 57 goals, 134 points
Comment: One of the game’s great young stars. Already the Avs’ captain.
2010, center Tyler Seguin, Boston Bruins
Career totals: 283 games, 93 goals, 205 points
Comment: Another one of the game’s great young stars. Won a Stanley Cup as a rookie. Dealt to the Dallas Stars because of off-ice issues. Ranked fifth in goals (37) and fourth in points (84) last season.
2009, defenseman Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
Career totals: 333 games, 29 goals, 144 points
Comment: One of the game’s best young defensemen. Enjoyed a breakout season in 2013-14, compiling 13 goals and 55 points while developing into a Norris candidate.
2008, defenseman Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
Career totals: 442 games, 59 goals, 144 points
Comment: Arguably the NHL’s best defenseman. Just won his second Cup. A future Hall of Famer.
2007, winger James van Riemsdyk, Philadelphia Flyers
Career totals: 324 games, 95 goals, 192 points
Comment: Traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2012. A U.S. Olympian fresh off his first 30-goal season.
2006, center Jordan Staal, Pittsburgh Penguins.
Career totals: 561 games, 145 goals, 319 points
Comment: Once one of the game’s top young forwards. Had 29 goals as a rookie and won a Cup two years later. Has slumped since getting traded to the Carolina Hurricanes in 2012.
2005, winger Bobby Ryan, Anaheim Ducks
Career totals: 448 games, 170 goals, 337 points
Comment: One of the game’s highest-scoring wingers. Had four straight 30-goal seasons. Traded to the Ottawa Senators in 2013.
2004, center Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Career totals: 518 games, 240 goals, 632 points
Comment: At times, the game’s most dominant forward and a true superstar. Has won the Calder, Art Ross, Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe and Hart. Will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
2003, center Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes
Career totals: 769 games, 289 goals, 688 points
Comment: Quietly one of the game’s best centers for years. Had a 45-goal, 100-point season in 2005-06, the same year Carolina won the Cup.
2002, goalie Kari Lehtonen, Atlanta Thrashers
Career totals: 445 games, 214-167-45, 2.66 goals-against average, .915 save percentage
After struggling in Atlanta, has become solid starter with the Dallas Stars. Hasn’t reached expectations of a No. 2 pick, however.
2001, center Jason Spezza, Ottawa Senators
Career totals: 686 games, 251 goals, 687 points
Comment: One of the game’s top point producers. Has battled injuries in recent seasons. Could be traded this summer.
2000, winger Dany Heatley, Atlanta Thrashers
Career totals: 863 games, 372 goals, 791 points
Comment: One of the game’s premier scorers for years. Posted consecutive 50-goal seasons with Ottawa. Had only 12 goals with the Minnesota Wild last season. Will be a free agent next week.
1999, winger Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
Career totals: 979 games, 307 goals, 805 points
Comment: An Art Ross winner with 104 points in 2010-11 and a premier winger for years with his twin brother, Henrik, pivoting him. Had only 47 points last season. Henrik was taken with the No. 3.