Defenseman Kris Letang could be this year’s big draft day trade story. (Michael Tureski/Icon SMI)
By Allan Muir
A look at the buzz surrounding Eastern Conference teams heading into Sunday’s NHL Draft in New Jersey:
Boston Bruins: Nothing like giving up a first rounder in the deepest draft in a decade for a player who goes the entire playoffs without scoring one lousy goal. Barring a trade, Boston’s first selection will be 60th overall. They’re unlikely to move up from that spot.
Buffalo Sabres: GM Darcy Regier holds two first rounders (his own at 8 and Minnesota’s at 16) and is hoping to make a big splash on Sunday, but says it will be “extremely difficult, if not impossible for the Sabres to move up in the draft. There are some quiet whispers that they might consider Zachary Fucale at 16.
Carolina Hurricanes: Amid rumors that the Canes might swap the fifth-overall pick comes talk that they are intrigued by Valeri Nichuschkin. “We will have a very good dialogue with the player,” GM Jim Rutherford said.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Aaron Portzline calls it very unlikely that the Jackets will use all three of their first rounders on Sunday. He says Columbus would like to come out of the draft with at least one player who can help the team immediately, so trading one or two of their selections is a strong bet.
Detroit Red Wings: Standing at 18, the Wings will be making their highest pick since 1991 (!). They’re looking for “a decent-size forward with skill,” according to director of amateur scouting, Joe McDonell.