March 10, 2010

Sabres plan bulk for farm

PAUL BETIT

— By

Staff Writer

The Buffalo Sabres don't expect to fill any of their immediate needs in this weekend's NHL draft.

Instead, it appears the Sabres intend to add some bulk to the roster of the Portland Pirates, their AHL affiliate, through free-agent signings.

The NHL will hold the first round of its draft tonight in Montreal.

The final six rounds will be held on Saturday.

''Most of (the draft picks) will return to the collegiate level or play junior hockey,'' said Buffalo General Manager Darcy Regier. ''They're a year or two away.''

While Buffalo doesn't expect to receive any immediate help from the players it chooses, it does intend to take steps to add muscle to its farm team.

''It's pretty easy to say you're going to go out and play a physical game, but you have to have the players to do that,'' said Portland Coach Kevin Dineen. ''You have to make sure the skilled players are surrounded by players who will enable them to show their skills.''

''We want to make sure we provide our skilled players with players who can do the work in the corners to supplement them,'' Regier said. ''We're going to add size at both levels of the organization.''

But Regier said he can't take any significant steps toward filling those needs until the unrestricted free-agency period starts, July 1.

The Sabres are scheduled to make the 13th overall pick in the first round of this weekend's draft.

Buffalo doesn't have a selection in the second round, which will start Saturday morning, but does have the fifth pick in the third round.

Mock drafts have the Sabres selecting from among a variety of young players with their first pick in the draft.

The prospective list includes junior defensemen John Moore from the USHL's Chicago Steel, Ryan Ellis from the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League, and a center from Sweden, Jacob Josefson.

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

pbetit@pressherald.com

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