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Recent history says the Sabres should do OK at #2

Philadelphia, PA (WGR 550)  -- Some people were so upset when the Sabres lost the Draft Lottery to Florida going down from first overall pick to second. It was the typical Buffalo, “Woe is me” and “They’re out to screw us” routine.
With all that in mind, I decided to go back to 2000 to see what kind of player to expect with the second overall pick.
When I say what each player averages, it’s over an 82 game season. I think you’re going to see that good players can be had at number two and losing the Lottery isn’t that big of a deal.
In 2000 Atlanta took Dany Heatley. The winger has played 863 NHL games and has averaged 35 goals and 75 points. Many feel Rick Nash is a better player. Nash was taken first overall in 2002 and averages 35 goals, but only 66 points.
In 2001 Ottawa scooped up Jason Spezza. He’s played 686 games and averages 30 goals and 82 points.
In 2002 the pick was back in the Thrashers hands and they went with goalie Kari Lehtonen who has played in 445 NHL games.
In 2003 Carolina went to the Staal family and selected Eric. He has 769 NHL games to his credit averaging 31 goals and 73 points.
The 2004 pick went to Pittsburgh and they took the best one of the bunch in Evgeny Malkin. The Russian has played 518 games averaging 38 goals and 100 points.
In 2005 the Ducks selected Bobby Ryan. It seems like just yesterday, but Ryan has 448 NHL games with an average of 31 goals and 62 points.
I forgot all about what happened in 2006. It was Pittsburgh again and they took Jordan Staal. The string of 30 goal scorers ends here. In 561 games Staal averages 21 goals and 46 points. What I forgot was The Pens passed on Jonathan Toews who went third to Chicago. Yes, Pittsburgh could’ve had a team of Toews, Malkin and Sidney Crosby!
In 2007 Philadelphia had the pick and the Flyers went with James van Riemsdyk. In 324 NHL games he averages 24 goals and 49 points.
The next two years Los Angeles took defenseman Drew Doughty while Tampa Bay went with D-man Victor Hedman. After this year’s playoffs, many were touting Doughty has the NHL’s best defenseman.
In 2010 Boston selected Tyler Seguin. He’s played 283 NHL games averaging 27 goals and 59 points.
In 2011 it was Colorado and Gabriel Landeskog. He’s already been named the Avalanche’s captain. In 199 NHL games he’s averaged 23 goals and 55 points.
We went back to defense in 2012 and Columbus went with Ryan Murray.
In 2013 Florida took Aleksander Barkov. He played 54 games in his rookie year scoring 12 goals and 36 points.  
When you look at this list there are some very good hockey players. Murray and Barkov are still too young too judge but, I think if Buffalo can walk away with a player that has done as well as Heatley, Spezza, Eric Staal, Malkin, Ryan, Doughty, Seguin or Landeskog, it’ll be worth this past season.


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