Not a lot of early picks change hands on the draft floor. ©2023

Sabres notes: NHL teams reluctant to trade top-10 draft picks

NASHVILLE – For first time since 2012, the Buffalo Sabres did not have a top-10 pick at the NHL Draft, meaning general manager Kevyn Adams likely had fewer teams trying to pry away his first selection.

Given the amount of high-end talent available early, teams are usually reluctant to part with one of the first 10 choices. This year, no trades were made in the entire first round.

“That’s shocking,” said Adams, who tried to move up in the first round and back into it in the 20s. “… I don’t know what to make of that, to be honest. I guess I’ve got to process that a little bit. But it is surprising.”

Of course, Adams, who will select 13th Wednesday at Bridgestone Arena, has never traded a first-round pick.

Adams said a year of work – think of all the hours scouts spend in cold, tiny rinks and the miles they log on the road – goes into preparing for the first round.

“I don’t want to say there’s an emotional attachment to your pick, but there kind of is in terms of the scouts and saying, ‘Man, if we’re this pick, we could get these three or four players,’” Adams said Tuesday in the Renaissance Nashville Hotel. “You start to get excited about what these players can do for your franchise down the road. And then you guys know me personally, I just believe that drafting well, developing well and then retaining your players is kind of the recipe for how we’re trying to build sustainable success. So for someone like me plays more of an importance to build this organization.”

Adams said Tuesday qualifying offers to the team’s restricted free agents hadn’t been completed. Teams have until Friday to extend them.

The Sabres have five restricted free agents, most notably center Tyson Jost and defenseman Kale Clague.

“It’s something we’re continuing to work through,” Adams said. “We’re going to have conversations leading right up to it. But we’re definitely prepared. Especially with Jost, we’ve talked to them for the last number of weeks about how he’s someone we’d love to have back and kind of the ball’s in his court a little bit now.”

Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin finished eighth in the Norris Trophy voting. Considering his rapid improvement over the past years and that he’s just 23, he could be a finalist for the award in the coming years.

Defenseman Owen Power was the Sabres’ only finalist at Monday’s NHL Awards. He finished third in the Calder Trophy voting.

“The awards show that I don’t have a vote, because I probably would’ve voted pretty high on a couple of our players,” Adams said. “But yeah, I think someone like Rasmus Dahlin showed the entire world who he is and what he’s about and the player he is. I’m sure he’ll use it as a little bit of fuel and motivation moving forward.”

Leading up to the draft, phenom Connor Bedard refused to acknowledge he’d be the first overall pick by the Chicago Blackhawks.

On Wednesday, he finally put on a Chicago jersey and considered himself a member of the team.

“It goes back to his upbringing,” John Paddock, Bedard’s coach with the Regina Pats, told the Times Herald earlier this month. “I don’t think he takes anything for granted. In saying that, I think he’s prepared for anything and everything that comes his way for attention to a game or his training or whatever.

“Yeah, I think he’s very much in the moment with this thing. I think he’s probably the only one in the world who thinks something could go different.”

This might be a first. When the Montreal Canadiens called former goalie Carey Price on stage to announce their pick, after saying “David,” he forget the youngster’s last name.

Canadiens GM Kent Hughes stepped up to the microphone and said “Reinbacher” to announce defenseman David Reinbacher as the fifth overall selection.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *