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Botterill still working on deals to land another first-rounder

DALLAS -- The Buffalo Sabres will take Rasmus Dahlin with the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Friday night -- but they're not giving up hope of potentially making another pick in the first round at American Airlines Center.

Trade winds blow heavy on draft day and the Sabres, of course, are in the middle of them with center Ryan O'Reilly's name prominent in the talks. It's well-known the Sabres are trying to get another top-10 pick, perhaps even as high as the No. 3 choice currently held by Montreal.

They also hold the No. 32 pick, the first one in Saturday's second round, and that could be in play as well in any moves to be made.

"We're ready to pick No. 1, preparing to pick at No. 32 and looking at different scenarios to see if we can move up from that point," Botterill said today during a pre-draft media briefing in the W hotel. "We've certainly had discussions with other teams. Putting a percentage on that is difficult to say."

The Sabres saw last year how a top-10 pick might need some seasoning during the season but can quickly become an NHLer. They drafted Casey Mittelstadt at No. 8 and he turned pro in March, making his NHL debut after his college season ended at the University of Minnesota.

"Anyone wants to get in the top 10 and you look at this year's draft, there's a lot of teams excited about their picks and that's why there's a lot of discussion out there," Botterill said. " Every year these players are better prepared for the National Hockey League and ready to step in right away."

Botterill still is not officially saying the Sabres are taking Dahlin at No. 1 -- the NHL frowns on that sort of thing -- but he was smiling when asked about the 18-year-old Swede today.

"There's always excitement around draft time but when you have that opportunity to get that first overall pick it is going to be a great day for our organization," Botterill said.

 

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