Tonawanda News — BUFFALO — Sabres general manager Darcy Regier hasn't given up entirely on his desire to acquire one of the highly coveted top-three picks in the NHL draft.
The problem is, the prospect of pulling off a deal is proving tougher than Regier initially anticipated — perhaps even "impossible," as he termed it.
Having already braced Sabres fans to be store for a little more "suffering" during the team's youth movement, Regier has encountered a snag in his rebuilding plans preparing for the draft at New Jersey on Sunday.
Despite having plenty to offer — draft picks and proven talent, including goalie Ryan Miller and forward Thomas Vanek — as trade bait, Regier has yet to find anyone interested in making a deal.
"I would characterize the draft and the ability ... to move up into those tops spots will be extremely difficult, if not impossible," Regier said, based on conversations he had with his counterparts at league meetings last week. "We're exploring all the options. We'll continue to try to move up. But it appears now that teams are getting more locked into keeping the pick."
That could leave the Sabres on the outside looking in, when forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, and defenseman Seth Jones are projected to be taken with the first three picks.
The one consolation is the pool of draft prospects is regarded to be deep enough to provide Regier several opportunities to continue adding young talent to a roster already in flux.
Starting with two first-round picks at No. 8 and 16, plus two more in the second round, the Sabres have 10 selections in the seven-round draft.
"I'm excited," Regier said. "When you look at the bigger picture, and you include two good second-round picks in what is a good draft, it provides a real solid opportunity for us to project down the road in a year or two."