Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

June 18, 2012

Four early picks should give the Sabres draft options

BUFFALO — Some of the names you’ve possibly heard bandied around in trade rumors, the players fans might be drooling about seeing in blue and gold, Sabres general manager Darcy Regier has discussed with his counterparts.

The Sabres, owners of four of the first 44 selections at this weekend’s NHL Entry Draft at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, including picks 12 and 21, have some nice chips if they want to deal.

At this point, nothing’s off the table, Regier said. The Sabres have flexibility. They could use the picks or other talent to move up or get established players, or simply keep their choices.

Right now, the market’s still developing.

“It’s way too early to know if anything will happen,” Regier said Monday during a pre-draft chat inside the First Niagara Center. “I think that there are a lot of teams like us, in similar positions. … At the start of the draft week, even the week before, you start to get a sense, and then as we get closer to the draft things have a way of materializing.”

Something materialized last year, when Regier swung a huge trade at draft, filling an immediate need by acquiring gritty defenseman Robyn Regehr with roster players.

Naturally, Regier wants to balance building and helping his current roster. Someone won’t be brought in as a one-year fix.

“If you have the opportunity to add someone who’s either under contact or is a high-profile player at a reasonable cost … then certainly that’s something we’ll pursue,” Regier said.

Is anyone on the roster available?

“There’s some obvious guys we don’t have any interest in talking about right now,” Regier said. “I make it a practice to call teams and ask them for players I assume they’re not willing to trade nor do they want to trade. Other GMs do the same thing, and you let them know in the event they change their mind, please give me a call. And I certainly do a lot more of that now than I used to.”

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