Sabres Finish Strong, 2013 Draft Class Stops Trying to Tank
It was scary there for a while, but the top prospects in the 2013 NHL Draft can breathe easy. The Buffalo Sabres will not be finishing in the toilet, and players like Seth Jones, Nathan Mackinnon, and Jonathan Drouin are no longer trying to sabotage their draft status. Mysterious phantom injuries, ailments, and even a self-diagnosis of Tardive Dyskinesia overtook many of the projected top draft picks, unabashedly attempting to avoid the Kiss of Death delivered by Darcy Regier.
After defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins last night, the Sabres will land somewhere between the 8th and 13th pick.
Still, it was a bit too close to call. When the Sabres were looking like the worst of the worst, and seemed to have a lock on a top 5 draft pick, Mackinnon was visibly upset with every point scored. The 6′, 182 lb center banged in 78 points in 58 games and was extremely worried that it could mean he would wear a Sabres jersey sometime in the future.
“Coach kept putting him out there,” one of Mackinnon’s teammates gave BBG an exclusive interview, “He would throw a wimpy backhand toward the net and it would go off a skate. Boom, goal. His head would hang down and he’d mutter something about hoping Buffalo would pull out of its slump and maybe make the playoffs so that they couldn’t pick him. It was tough to see. It was like he couldn’t not score, no matter how hard he didn’t try.”
Mackinnon was reported to be even more visibly upset when he learned that a good wimpy backhand that bounces in because of pure luck is exactly what Regier is looking for, with Jochen Hecht likely to be extended and given the captaincy and minority ownership of the team.
“Imagine three of those guys on the same line,” Regier told BBG staff over the phone, “Hecht and Stafford and this Mackinnon kid. All whiffing on it from the boards. The goalies in this league learn to stop good shots, not incredible flukes of physics. That line would sneak in upwards of ten goals like that.”
Thankfully the Sabres blew it and will be drafting from the middle of the pack, where no player ever amounted to anything.
“Ugh, it’s like an unavoidable black hole. I mean look at me,” Cody Hodgson explained, “I was taken tenth overall. And now I’m on the Sabres for crying out loud.”
Indeed, at one point during the season the Sabres fielded nine first round draft picks. Only Thomas Vanek was drafted above the event horizon of the dreaded 8th overall pick (Vanek was taken 5th). The other players (Regehr, Hodgson, Myers, Ennis, Ott, Stafford, Grigorenko, and Pysyk) were all taken between 10th and 26th, which totally explains why the team is stuck in this awful spot where they will forever be frustrating and any years that they do well are complete flukes.
So life is back to normal for Jones, Mackinnon, and Drouin. The rat race is back on, meanwhile, for Sean Monahan, Hunter Shinkaruk, Ryan Pulock, and the other top prospects that spent so much energy trying to tank the draft. They now have to switch gears and heal from their mysterious injuries and neurological disorders in order to climb higher than the 8th pick, where dreaded Buffalo could be waiting.
“It’s a tricky thing,” one source explained, “Trying to tank on purpose. Take a look at Mikhail Grigorenko last year. He was touted as a possible 2nd overall pick. He sure as hell didn’t want to end up on the Blue Jackets, so he came down with some knee injury and revealed that he was actually Russian. Sure, he avoided Columbus, but he fell right into the waiting maw that was Darcy Regier and the 12th pick. We all know how that turned out.”