By John Vogl
The Sabres' goal heading toward the NHL draft was to move up to the top and get an elite player. It appears the goal will go unfulfilled.
"To move up into those top spots will be extremely difficult if not impossible," General Manager Darcy Regier said today.
Regier spent Wednesday in Boston at the general managers' meetings, and he learned that the teams in the top four spots -- Colorado, Florida, Tampa Bay and Nashville -- have settled on making their picks.
The Sabres are set to pick eighth and 16th in the first round June 30 in New Jersey. Kevin Devine, Buffalo's director of amateur scouting, said the team would not move back from the No. 8 spot but could be willing to deal the 16th pick for extra selections.
Though they won't get an elite player at the top, the Sabres feel they'll get important contributors in the first round.
"We're going to get two good players," Devine said. "At the eight pick, we're looking at a top-6 forward or a top-four defenseman.
"What we'd have to give up to get that franchise player would also set us back depth-wise."
The Sabres are still examining their options regarding Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller. Their agents told The Buffalo News today that there have not been contract talks with the Sabres.
"Ideally, I would like to keep them here, yes. Both of them," Regier said in First Niagara Center. "But again, we have to look at it in the context of when they can become unrestricted, whether or not we have the ability to do deals with them and then the cost of those deals, if we do. That all gets mixed into the decision."