Sam Reinhart (right) played nine NHL games last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

History shows No. 2 pick will become special player for Sabres

SUNRISE, Fla. – Recent history says Jack Eichel, the mega-prospect the Buffalo Sabres will select second overall Friday at the NHL Draft, could become a franchise talent.

Just take a look at the list below.

It can be argued 15 of the last 16 No. 2 picks have been strong hits. The list includes 50-goal scorers, perennial NHL All-Stars and even future Hall of Famers. Only Sam Reinhart, a center the Sabres selected second a year ago, hasn’t established himself in the NHL yet.

Here’s a look at the No. 2 picks dating back to 2000.

2014, center Sam Reinhart, Buffalo Sabres

Career totals: nine games, zero goals, one point

Comment: Reinhart produced almost nothing during a trial early last season. The Sabres expect him to be a contributor next season, however.

2013, center Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers

Career totals: 125 games, 24 goals, 60 points

Comment: The Finn scored 16 goals and 36 points last season for one of the NHL’s up-and-coming teams.

2012, defenseman Ryan Murray, Columbus Blue Jackets

Career totals: 78 games, five goals, 24 points

Comment: Murray played almost 20 minutes a game as a rookie for a playoff team in 2013-14 before injuries limited him to 12 games last season.

2011, winger Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche

Career totals: 281 games, 80 goals, 193 points

Comment: The Swede, one of the game’s great young stars, became the youngest captain in NHL history as a 19-year-old in 2012.

2010, center Tyler Seguin, Boston Bruins

Career totals: 283 games, 93 goals, 205 points

Comment: Another one of the game’s great young stars, Seguin won a Stanley Cup as a rookie. He ranked fifth in goals (37) and seventh in points (77) last season.

2009, defenseman Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning

Career totals: 392 games, 39 goals, 182 points

Comment: Hedman just solidified his place as one of the NHL’s top defensemen during the Lightning’s run to the Cup final.

2008, defenseman Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings

Career totals: 524 games, 66 goals, 267 points

Comment: Doughty, one of the NHL’s best defenseman, already has won two Stanley Cups.

2007, winger James van Riemsdyk, Philadelphia Flyers

Career totals: 406 games, 122 goals, 248 points

Comment: Van Riemsdyk, who was selected after South Buffalo’s Patrick Kane, has 57 goals in the last two seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, including a 30-goal campaign in 2013-14.

2006, center Jordan Staal, Pittsburgh Penguins.

Career totals: 607 games, 151 goals, 343 points

Comment: Once one of the game’s top young forwards, Staal scored 29 goals as a rookie and won a Cup two years later. However, he has slumped since getting traded to the Carolina Hurricanes in 2012.

2005, winger Bobby Ryan, Anaheim Ducks

Career totals: 526 games, 188 goals, 391 points

Comment: Once one of the game’s highest-scoring wingers, Ryan, who had four straight 30-goal seasons from 2008-12, scored a career-low 18 goals last season with the Ottawa Senators.

2004, center Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins

Career totals: 587 games, 268 goals, 702 points

Comment: Malkin has been the game’s most dominant forward and a true superstar for much of his career, winning the Calder, Art Ross, Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe and Hart. However, the Russian’s production has slowed in recent years.

2003, center Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes

Career totals: 846 games, 312 goals, 742 points

Comment: Quietly one of the game’s best centers for years, Staal had a 45-goal, 100-point season in 2005-06, the same year Carolina won the Cup. He scored 23 goals and 54 points last season, his lowest full-season output since his rookie year.

2002, goalie Kari Lehtonen, Atlanta Thrashers

Career totals: 510 games, 248-184-55, 2.70 goals-against average, .914 save percentage

Comment: After struggling in Atlanta, Lehtonen became a solid starter in Dallas before a brutal 2014-15 season. The Finn hasn’t reached expectations of a No. 2 pick.

2001, center Jason Spezza, Ottawa Senators

Career totals: 768 games, 268 goals, 749 points

Comment: One of the game’s top and underrated point producers, Spezza joined Dallas last year and scored 17 goals and 62 points.

2000, winger Dany Heatley, Atlanta Thrashers

Career totals: 869 games, 372 goals, 791 points

Comment: One of the game’s premier scorers for years, Heatley posted consecutive 50-goal seasons with Ottawa. His NHL career likely ended when Anaheim waived him early last season.

Notes: The NHL announced Wednesday the Sabres have their 2015-16 home opener Oct. 8 against the Ottawa Senators. The full schedule will be released today. … Sabres winger Tyler Ennis’ highlight-reel goal – an off-balance backhander Nov. 28 against Montreal goalie Carey Price – has been nominated for a “Best Play” ESPY Award.

One thought on “History shows No. 2 pick will become special player for Sabres”

  1. Reinhart may very well have a good start next season under Bylsma and his coaching staff…

    And possibly stay up here for most of the year.

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