Florida selected Aleksander Barkov second overall last year. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Second pick has paid huge dividends in recent years

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.

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