By Mike Harrington
There are multiple conditions to the draft picks the Sabres are acquiring from the St. Louis Blues in the Ryan Miller/Steve Ott trade and Sabres officials confirmed the biggest one last night: If the Blues make the Western Conference final this year or re-sign Miller prior to the draft, Buffalo gets St. Louis' first-round pick this year. That would likely be in the neighborhood of pick 27-29 but a first-rounder is a first-rounder.
(An aside here: Why wouldn't St. Louis just wait until the draft and then re-sign Miller at the start of the free agency period July 1 so not to risk giving up a first-rounder? Remember under the new CBA, teams have an NBA-style discussion window prior to the actual signing day for free agents. They can agree to deals but the paperwork can't be signed. So in theory, the Blues could lose Miller during the time when other teams can talk to him. Until that window opens, they're the only team that can sign Miller).
If the Blues sign Miller to an extension after the 2014 draft, they give Buffalo a second-round pick in 2016. And according to ESPN.com, if the Sabres do, in fact, land St. Louis' No. 1 pick this year, they will give the Blues the second-round pick this June obtained as part of the Jason Pominville deal last April and their third-round pick.