The Sabres held a draft preview press conference today with general manager Darcy Regier and scouting director Kevin Devine, but much of the chatter at the 35-minute session was about Regier's theories on the trade market, both with his four draft picks in the top 44 and on potentially moving for NHL-level players to help his ninth-place-in-the-East club.
The draft is Friday and Saturday in Pittsburgh.
"More calls have gone out than I've been receiving," Regier said. "But that doesn't mean it won't change. The tendency is for this thing to ramp up as you approach the draft and when you get on the floor, it gets a little crazier."
The Sabres appear bent on using their picks to acquire players and not to move up to a top-5 slot in a draft that has a lot of uncertainties because of players missing time in junior and because several of the top picks are Russian. The Sabres traditionally shy away from Russians and they're a big worry across the league because of the lure of big money from the KHL.
Devine said he likes the depth of the top 20 in the draft but notes there's no superstar talent the likes of Steven Stamkos or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to be had.
"For us to try to move up in the top five, for the price it's going to be, I'm not sure if it's worth it," Devine said. "Because I'm not sure those players have distinguished themselves any differently than some of the players that might be around [No.] 9."
In other news from Regier today:
---The Sabres have not yet opened negotiations with restricted free agents Tyler Ennis and Patrick Kaleta
---The team has not closed the door on re-signing Jochen Hecht, who Regier says is now healthy after longterm concussion issues.
---Finnish winger Joel Armia, the No. 1 pick from last season, is expected at prospect camp next month at Niagara University. He signed his three-year entry level contract last week but it won't begin until the 2013-14 season while he plays during the upcoming season in his homeland. And Regier said it's possible Armia could bypass Rochester and come directly to the NHL.
Said Regier: "Ability-wise and projecting him, he'll have to come to training camp but his talent and skill level would make it a possibility for him to play out of the gate."