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MURRAY EXPECTS EKBLAD TO GO 1ST OVERALL

Thursday, 06.19.2014 / 3:04 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / 2014 NHL DRAFT
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2014 NHL DRAFT
MURRAY EXPECTS EKBLAD TO GO 1ST OVERALL


Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray said at his pre-draft press conference Thursday that he expects defenseman Aaron Ekblad to be off the board by the time his team is on the clock.

The Sabres hold the second overall selection in the 2014 NHL Draft, which begins on June 27 in Philadelphia. Florida is slated to pick first, but is reportedly fielding offers from other teams.

Therefore, Murray said there’s “a very good chance” that the Sabres will select Sam Reinhart, Sam Bennett or Leon Draisaitl with their first pick.

Ekblad is the top-ranked defenseman in the draft by NHL Central Scouting. For Murray, it’s really a just question of which team picks him.

“I believe that Ekblad is going to go one and then we pick who we have left – the next guy on our list,” Murray said. “If he doesn’t go one, I’d be surprised I guess, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

WATCH FULL PRESS CONFERENCE

Reinhart and Bennett have been regarded for some time now as the top two draft-eligible centers, but Draisaitl has recently worked his way into the discussion. Murray said that Draisaitl is “right there” among this year’s top forwards.

“There are guys that aren’t being talked about that are potentially part of that,” Murray said. “It’s a copycat league, so LA wins the Cup again and the terminology is ‘They’re heavy.’ So you’ve got guys like [Nick] Ritchie and [Jake] Virtanen that are good players that are heavy. Teams are looking for heavy.”

As to whom the Sabres will take, the pick won’t be based on any perceived need.

“We’re taking the best player available,” Murray said, noting that the team has a lot of needs.

And what are some of Murray’s expectations for this draft, his first as a GM?

“The perfect draft?” he pondered. “Our first pick is going to be what we consider a very good player. Use assets to get back into the first round and pick a player we feel down the road […] can play. Hit on one or two of your seconds and hit somewhere later in the draft. I would consider that a very good draft.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82