Buffalo General Manager Darcy Regier said the Sabres more than likely will be picking the best player available tonight during the first round of the NHL’s entry draft.

The Sabres, the parent team of the Portland Pirates, have the 23rd pick in the first round of the draft, which starts at 7 p.m. at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

“As you move down in the draft, the number of players who come into play and the different positions which come into play open up,” Regier said in a recent telephone interview.

“For us, it’s looking at the best player available.”

North American players 18-20 years old and Europeans of all ages entering the league for the first time are eligible for selection.

Because of Buffalo’s position in the 30-team draft, there is a possibility the player it chooses with its first pick could be traded.

“When you’re drafting that late, you end up with a list that probably has 10 names on it,” Regier said.

“You’re going to take the best player, and that best player is someone who you could move.”

Rounds 2 through 7 of the draft will be held Saturday.

The Sabres don’t have a pick in the second round. They have three third-round selections, one pick in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds and two seventh-round selections.


Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

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