ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The draft floor is almost full in Xcel Energy Center, and that includes the Sabres' table. I can see Kevin Devine, director of amateur scouting, and his scouts. I see owner Terry Pegula's youngest son, clad in a white Sabres jersey with "Pegula" on the back.
Haven't seen Pegula or Ted Black yet, but I'm sure they're around.
This will be a running blog through the night, with updates on picks, trades and rumors. There will also be links to audio from the Sabres' pick and management, provided they chat tonight. They usually do, but it's been a weird month with them, so who knows.
No matter what, this will be the place to be.
6 p.m.: See, it took just two minutes for the next update. Just wanted to say the huge draft board has has large circle in the top right corner with the letters "EJ" inside, honoring late Buffalo native EJ McGuire, the head of NHL Central Scouting who died of cancer in April.
6:08 p.m.: The Toronto Maple Leafs have added former Sabres coach Rick Dudley for their front office. (I saw him dragging his suitcase to the Marriott City Center check-in desk this afternoon.) Also, the Avalanche have sent defenceman John-Michael Liles to the Maple Leafs in exchange for Toronto's second-round draft pick in 2012.
6:21 p.m.: The Maine Hockey Journal has audio of the Portland Pirates' news conference today in which they discussed the Sabres' purchase of the Rochester Americans.
6:24 p.m.: Calgary radio station Fan 960 reports Robyn Regehr has declined to waive his no-trade clause to come to Buffalo.
6:50 p.m.: A source says Regehr may be having second thoughts about saying no. He is said to be interested in what other offers are out there, but none match what Buffalo has offered from Calgary's perspective. It's not over yet.
6:55 p.m.: There is a very small crowd assembled so far. This is my fourth straight draft, and there were full houses in Montreal and Ottawa, and a good crowd in L.A. for the first round. Even L.A. is putting the "State of Hockey" to shame at the moment.
7:08 p.m.: Don't you love when events that are supposed to start at 7 don't even remotely come close to that. They said first pick will be around 7:15.
7:09 p.m.: The way the draft works is the teams are on the floor from about blue line to blue line. A media riser is on the end across from the draft board. There is a fence separating the media from the teams, and the GMs or coaches always come to the fence to give updates prior to the draft. The reason you don't have an update from the Sabres is they broke from that "always," declining to talk to me or Paul Hamilton until after they pick.
I hope this code of silence ends soon. It'll be something traveling through Europe with a team that doesn't talk.
7:23 p.m.: Quality, quality moment prior to Edmonton making Ryan Nugent-Hopkins the first pick of the 2011 draft. The family of McGuire, his wife, Terry, and their daughters, Jacqueline and Erin, came on stage to a standing ovation. Terry is the sister of Sabres equipment manager Rip Simonick.
7:29 p.m.: Colorado has selected Gabriel Landeskog as the second overall pick. Profiles can be seen here, though I'll link to the Sabres' pick.
7:43 p.m.: While I was down at the Nugent-Hopkins interview, the Panthers selected Jonathan Huberdeau with the third pick. It was interesting to see Nugent-Hopkins with a No. 11 Oilers jersey. Two obvious things: 1. It was to symbolize the year. B. He won't be keeping the number because a guy named Mark Messier used to wear it.
7:47 p.m.: New Jersey, which has to give up a first-round pick at some point because of the Ilya Kovalchuk debacle, obviously kept this year's because it's No. 4. They pick Adam Larsson.
7:53 p.m.: The Islanders pick Ryan Strome with the fifth pick. They thanked the "10,000 fans" watching in Nassau Coliseum. Yeah, I'm not buying that. Who would go to that dump instead of a bar?
7:58 p.m.: The Senators waste little time on stage and select Mika Zibanejad.
8 p.m.: Minnesota resident Thomas Vanek has joined the Sabres' table and is chatting with Darcy Regier, Black and Pegula.
8:01 p.m.: Drew Stafford has now joined the chat.
8:06 p.m.: There are a lot of Winnipeg Jets fans here. They are screaming and chanting, including a shout of "Gary, Gary" for Commissioner Gary Bettman. The Commish, who is usually booed at all events, can only smile and shrug.
8:10 p.m.: The Jets formally announce their name and then select Mark Scheifele. Polite applause for someone expected to be done in the Sabres' 16 range.
8:19 p.m.: The Flyers select Sean Couturier, a talented, talented forward.
8:26 p.m.: The Stanley Cup winning Bruins select Dougie Hamilton, just the second defenseman in the first nine picks.
8:31 p.m.: The Xcel Energy Center is at its loudest with the host Wild on the clock.
8:31 p.m.: Ted Black, I've noticed, isn't much of a sitter. He keeps standing up to chat and look around.
8:32 p.m.: I'd prefer it if he came over to the fence to chat with me about Rochester, like I requested.
8:34 p.m.: The Wild commit a major mistake by not thanking their fans for coming, then they select Jonas Brodin.
8:39 p.m.: Colorado selects Duncan Siemens at No. 11, leaving five picks until the Sabres.
8:43 p.m.: I think it would be interesting if the Sabres took Jamie Oleksiak. Can you imagine a blue-line pairing of a 6-foot-8 Tyler Myers next to a 6-7 guy?
8:45 p.m.: Carolina takes Ryan Murphy at 12.
8:51 p.m. The Flames take Sven Baertschi.
9 p.m.: So much for that. Dallas takes Oleksiak. He is one big kid.
9:04 p.m.: The Calgary Sun has caught up with Regehr: "Darcy Regier has been fantastic," Regehr told the newspaper. "We need to explore all our options. It sounds like Buffalo is great ... but until we see what’s all out there, we can’t make a real good informed decision that we’re comfortable with."
9:08 p.m.: Aaron Boogaard, the brother of the late Derek Boogaard, gets a standing ovation from the fans of his brother's former team. He then selects Jonathan Miller for the Rangers. The Sabres are on the clock.
9:11 p.m.: No surprise, Ted Black is standing as the Sabres get ready.
9:13 p.m.: Pegula pays tribute to Rick Marting, then makes the pick and selects Joel Armia.
9:15 p.m.: Armia is the first European selected by the Sabres since 2006.
10:08 p.m.: The Armia story is up, with a chat with Darcy Regier coming momentarily.
10:09 p.m.: And the Regier audio is up.
10:20 p.m.: The Sabres signed minor-league goaltender David Leggio to a new contract.
10:59 p.m.: Just got done talking with Kevin Devine, the Sabres' director of amateur scouting. Audio will be up momentarily. We're still waiting to see if we get Ted Black, who is still standing ... but not at the fence.
11:03 p.m.: Brian Campbell has reportedly agreed to waive his no-trade clause to go to the Florida Panthers. he helped rebuild the Blackhawks, and I expect the same in Florida.
11:11 p.m.: Well, Black declined comment, saying the team wanted to do everything next week in Rochester. It will likely be Wednesday. The audio of Devine's chat is up. And the first round is over, so that is it from St. Paul till Saturday morning.
Good night, and thanks for reading.