The Buffalo Sabres have their own pick (#12) and the Preds first round pick this year in the 2012 draft thanks to GM Darcy Regier sending Paul Gaustad and a 4th-rounder to Nashville. Right now it looks as if they'll get a pick that lands somewhere in the #21 area.
Two things we know about the draft right now:
- The top picks at forward are dominated by Russians--RW Nail Yakupov, C Alex Galchenyuk, and C Mikhail Grigorenko.
- Defenseman are once again prevalent as International Scouting Services place four d-men in their top-seven--Ryan Murray, Jacob Trouba, Matt Dumba, and Morgan Rielly.
Fast-rising C Filip Forsberg, who some have going top-three, and LW Teuvo Teravainen are locks for the top-10.
The talent-level drop-off point in this year's draft seems to be right around the #6/7 area, well ahead of where the Sabres will start the draft.
But, there seems to be some question marks in the draft, not necessarily the talent-level of the top picks, but whether or not Edmonton, who has the #1-overall pick, and Columbus with the #2 will trade down.
For Edmonton, this will be the third year in a row that they have the #1 overall pick. In 2010 they took Taylor Hall and in 2011 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. In the three drafts prior they took three forwards--Sam Ganger (#6-overall, 2007,) Jordan Eberle (#22, 2008,) and Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson (#10, 2009).
With, arguably four of the top-five picks in this draft being forwards, it's not the ideal situation for a team that would love to add a blue chip d-prospect to their organization.
Columbus is also a question mark with the #2 pick.
The Blue Jackets need help everywhere, and may be looking for a top-line RW as franchise cornerstone Rick Nash, may be on the move.
Seems pretty simple, doesn't it?
With the #2 pick they take either Galyenchuk or Grigorenko as their highly skilled, top-line center.
But, remember Nikita Filatov? Drafted in 2006 as somewhat of a gamble with the NHL and the KHL in a tug of war for Russian talent, the extremely gifted Russian winger taken #6 overall got off to a slow start, went into (then) coach Ken Hitchcock's doghouse, and was eventually traded for a third-round pick in 2011.
Would the team be willing to take a gamble (although less of one now) to take another Russian?
Would they move Nash for a bounty and settle upon Forsberg as their new, top-line RW?
Would they draft down to gather more picks (*cough, cough...Buffalo?)
As for the Sabres, all we know is that they have two first-rounders and two second-rounders and some strong prospects who could make for an intriguing package to move up in the draft.