Sabres general manager Tim Murray addresses the media after the 2014 NHL Draft in Philadelphia.
On the draft:
We have a potential top-two center that could play for us next year. The other thing it did for the organization is we added a lot of assets.
The way I’ve spoken about that in the past is we’re going to do the best we can to make them better and they’re either going to be Buffalo Sabres or they’re going to allow us to get other Buffalo Sabres. I think when you draft a lot of players early that it automatically helps your organization.
Summarizing the weekend:
Outstanding. Our guys are happy. I’ve made them do a lot of talking, a lot of explaining why they wanted certain players and I think that’s the way I think it should be. I think if you want a player, you have to engage. You just can’t tell me he’s a good player. You have to tell me more. I want to hear more. And they stepped up.
They’re getting used to me. I’m getting used to them and this is the first step, I believe, in maybe having to give more information than they’re used to. Maybe having to put more emphasis on different things than they used to and I think they’re all learning. And I think they did a good job.
WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE
|(Photo Credit: Getty Images)|
PHILADELPHIA – Brendan Lemieux didn’t think he’d end up in Buffalo after his combine interview with the Sabres in May.
Sabres general manager Tim Murray and the hockey department asked tough questions and many of the prospects coming out of those meetings said Buffalo was one of the harder interviews in the League.
It turns out Lemieux had similar feelings.
“I thought it was my worst interview. They weren’t easy on me but I guess they liked the way I reacted,” he said after being selected by Buffalo with the first pick of the second round of the 2014 NHL Draft on Saturday.
Partly because of that interview, Buffalo wasn’t really on his radar entering the draft.
“I was one of those guys trying to figure out for a long time where I was going to go. You don’t know and nobody really knew but I had no idea,” he said. “I had no idea I would drop out of the first round. I had no idea I’d be picked this morning. I walked in the arena like two minutes before I got picked. I had no idea.”
While Lemieux may have been disappointed with his performance in that combine interview, Murray liked what he heard.
“I know that he felt that. We didn’t feel that. We felt that it was outstanding. We made it uncomfortable for him a little bit, fairly,” he said. “We went after him a little bit about his relationship with teammates and different things. So I assume he didn’t think that Buffalo was going to draft him at all.
“And that’s how some interviews go. He thought it was tough and we thought it was great. We thought he responded very well to some tough questions.”
Murray said he also challenged first-round pick Sam Reinhart during the interview process and rehashed some of those conversations on Saturday.
“I didn’t get involved in a lot of interviews. I did on Reinhart. I asked him about that today. I questioned him on leadership and different things that he responded very well [to],” he said. “I questioned Lemieux on his character and how he gets along with teammates and different things like that and I thought that he responded well too. But I could see that he thought it was a tough one maybe.”
Murray said that the Sabres had Lemieux in their Top 30 and that the combination of his tenacious style and offensive upside made him a very appealing prospect.
Lemieux, who models his game after his father Claude – an infamous agitator – is going to use the perceived slight of being passed on in the first round as extra motivation to progress his career.
“Definitely I was disappointed. I expected to be a first-round pick and never even really looked at the second round,” he said. “But that being said, things have a way of working out and I think it could be a blessing in disguise that I had to wait it out. I’m proud to be picked with the first pick of the second round and I’m just going to use it as fuel now.”
With their final pick in this year’s draft at 181st overall, the Sabres selected 19-year-old right winger Victor Olofsson from MODO in Sweden. The 5-foot-11 and 175-pound Olofsson has speed to burn, and scored 32 goals and 53 points at the J20 level last season.
Buffalo went back into the high school ranks for their 151st selection with Christopher Brown, the son of former NHLer Doug Brown. A center from Cranbrook Kingswood in Michigan, Brown accumulated a ridiculous 84 points (26+58) in 28 games this season. Brown has committed to Boston College, and is expected to play with the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers in 2014-15. His uncle, Greg, is a coach at BC and was drafted by the Sabres in 1986.
After having the fourth round off, Buffalo used their lone pick in the fifth round (121st overall) to take Max Willman, a left winger from Williston-North Hampton High School in Massachusetts. Willman, who will attend Brown University in the fall, had 44 points (21+23) in 25 games this season.
WATCH: WILLMAN MEDIA SCRUM
The Sabres went for a goalie with their first of two picks in round three, going to Sweden for 6-foot-4 Jonas Johansson at number 61 overall. Johansson, the second-ranked European goalie by Central Scouting, spent most of the 2013-14 season with Brynas of the Swedish junior league, posting a 2.32 GAA and .911 save%.
Brycen Martin became Buffalo’s first defenseman selected, as they took him with the 74th overall pick. The 6-foot-1 Martin finished second among defensemen on Swift Current with 37 points (6+31) in 72 games, while playing alongside Julius Honka (14th overall, DAL) on the Broncos’ blueline.
WATCH: MARTIN MEDIA SCRUM
The Sabres owned three picks in the second round to start day two of the 2014 NHL Draft. With the first pick of the second round, Buffalo opened the day’s proceedings by taking left winger Brendan Lemieux from the OHL’s Barrie Colts with the 31st overall selection. Brendan had a team-leading 145 PIMs along with 53 points (27+26) last season, and is the son of former NHLer Claude Lemieux.
WATCH: LEMIEUX MEDIA SCRUM
Buffalo then traded pick 39 to Washington in exchange for the Capitals’ 44th and 74th picks this year. With the 44th pick, the Sabres selected Eric Cornel, a centerman from the OHL’s Peterborough Petes. Cornel finished third in team scoring in 2013-14 with 62 points (25+37) in 68 games, often lining up alongside Nick Ritchie on the top line.
WATCH: CORNEL MEDIA SCRUM
With their third and final pick of the second round at 49th overall, the Sabres grabbed left winger Vaclav Karabacek. In 65 games with the Gatineau Olympiques of the QMJHL last season, the native of the Czech Republic had 21 goals and 47 points, good for fifth in league rookie scoring.
PHILADELPHIA -- Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray wasted no time making the second-overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. He didn’t thank anyone or make a long speech. He announced the selection of center Sam Reinhart and stepped away from the podium.
“It was good. I liked it,” Reinhart said. “Didn’t stall at all. It shows the confidence he has in me and makes me feel better.”
Murray didn’t see any reason to take more time up on the stage.
“He was the first player on our list,” Murray said. “You shouldn’t hesitate when you’re getting the first player on your list.”
Murray said he’s been scouting Reinhart since the day he took the general manager’s job in Buffalo back in January. He had a trip planned to watch Reinhart play in Western Canada right away.
It’s Reinhart’s vision and hockey smarts that separated him from the other top prospects in the draft.
“Hockey sense, seeing the play three, four, five seconds before it happens, which most good players, I’d say it’s a couple seconds or whatever fractions you want to use. And I just think he has an ability to make wingers better,” Murray said. So now our job is to make sure that we have the proper guys to play with him.”
Reinhart’s next visit to Buffalo will be his first.
“I’ve never been to Buffalo so I’m pretty excited about it. Before they had the pick, I saw some of the city [in an intro video on the video board] so I’m looking forward to it.”
He’ll be in town for the team’s development camp July 14-18 and Murray said he’ll be involved in both that as well as the prospect tournament in Traverse City. Whether he’ll be ready for the NHL come October will depend on how he progresses.
“He’s a young prospect so he has a big summer ahead of him,” Murray said. “He’s got a development camp, a rookie tournament and training camp and exhibition games. And he will be judged each and every day of that schedule.”
What does Tim Murray think Sam Reinhart's best attributes are? Was he close to getting back into the first round? What will he do with the 31st overall pick?
WATCH HIS PRESS CONFERENCE WITH THE MEDIA
|(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)|
PHILADELPHIA -- The Buffalo Sabres had their choice of forwards with the second-overall selection of the 2014 NHL Draft on Friday. They went with center Sam Reinhart, the Western Hockey League's Player of the Year.
What does Reinhart think separated himself from the other top prospects?
“I think the biggest thing is I feel ready to play. It’s a young team. I’m very familiar with the organization and I’ve pictured myself in this uniform for a very long time,” Reinhart said. “I’m very excited and I’m very motivated to step into the League next year with a young team that’s developing very well and to make an impact.”
Reinhart said that Buffalo was one of his most challenging interviews and that they really pushed him with their questions.
“They did and I think that’s only positive for them to do that,” he said. “It gives you a lot of confidence in them and with what they can do in those sorts of interviews. I’m thrilled and happy and I’m very thankful that they selected me.”
After his junior season wrapped up, Reinhart joined Team Canada for their training camp in Switzerland as they prepared for the IIHF World Championship. He was able to meet Cody Hodgson and Tyler Myers and get a first-hand look at the professional lifestyle.
He’s studied up on the Sabres organization over the past few months and knows he’s going to have to work hard to make the team in the fall.
“It’s not going to be given to me right away,” he said. “I’m going to do everything I can to step in and make an impact and take advantage of every opportunity.”