With the 2013 NHL Entry Draft rapidly approaching, at the end of the month, the clock continues to tick on the Buffalo Sabres. While they may not technically be on the clock, time is running out for them to make a decision on what to do with the eighth overall pick.
There has been much speculation that the Sabres might be looking to flip the pick and trade up, but in the event that they cannot and are stuck drafting eighth overall, who are some of the bigger names that have been drafted in that slot?
This selection has had a few big names selected since the draft began in 1963. It will be the first time the Sabres have ever picked eighth and maybe they will find a future hall of famer with their selection.
There have been four members of the Hockey Hall of Fame selected eighth overall: Darryl Sittler, in 1970, by the Toronto Maple Leafs; Bob Gainey, 1973, by the Montreal Canadiens; Ray Bourque, 1979, by the Boston Bruins; and Grant Fuhr, in 1981, by the Edmonton Oilers.
Sittler was the first eighth overall pick to become a hall of famer. Originally from Kitchener, Ontario, he played his junior hockey close to home with the London Knights. He got to stay close to home when the Leafs selected him in 1970. He went on to play 12 seasons with the Leafs, three in Philadelphia and one in Detroit. He finished his career with 484 goals and 1121 points. He was inducted into the Hall of fame in 1989.
Much like Sittler, Gainey had the opportunity to play his junior for his hometown team: the Peterborough Petes. He was drafted in 1973 by the Canadiens, but also by Minnesota in the World Hockey Association. He played his entire 16-season NHL career with the Canadiens. He was always in the conversation for and won the Frank J. Selke Trophy, as best defensive forward, four times (1978, 1980, 1981 and 1982). He was a member of five Stanley Cup Teams, 1976-79 and 1986 and was named the winner of the Conn Smythe in 1979. In 1992 he was inducted in the Hall of Fame.
Bourque played for three teams in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League before he was drafted in the 1979 draft by the Boston Bruins. During the next 20 seasons he would establish himself as one of the best defensemen in the game with the Bruins. He won the Calder Memorial Trophy in 1980, the James Norris five times (1987, 1988, 1990, 1991 and 1994), and was awarded the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 1992. But one thing eluded Bourque throughout his Bruins’ years and that was a Stanley Cup. He was traded to Colorado in 2000 and the following year won his Cup. In 2004, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Originally from Spruce Grove, Alberta, Fuhr played his junior in Victoria, British Columbia, before the Edmonton Oilers drafted him in 1981. He played 10 seasons with the Oilers capturing a Vezina Trophy in 1988 and won five Stanley Cups with the team (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990). After his time in Edmonton, Fuhr played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres, where he shared the William M. Jennings Trophy with Dominic Hasek in 1994, the L.A. Kings, St. Louis Blues and Calgary Flames. He became a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003.
While there may only be four players who were selected at number eight overall in the Hall of Fame, there have been others who had great careers and may one day join the four players listed above.
Shayne Corson was taken, in 1983, by the Montreal Canadiens and went on to play 19 seasons finishing with 693 points.
Jeremy Roenick was picked in 1988 by the Chicago Blackhawks and played 18 NHL seasons with Chicago, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Jose. He became the third American-born player to reach 500 goals. He finished his career with 513 goals and 1216 points.
Derian Hatcher was selected in 1990 by the Minnesota North Stars. Hatcher will forever be known as one of the most physical, defensive defensemen in the game’s history. He played 16 NHL seasons with Minnesota/Dallas, Detroit and Philadelphia. Hatcher won a Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999.
So while it may not be the longest list of noteworthy players, the number eight pick does have a great deal of history attached to it. In recent years, the pick has been used on: Derrick Pouliot, Sean Couturier, Alex Burmistrov and Scott Glennie. So what will the Sabres do with it? Well only time will tell and where that player fits into the history of the pick will be something that we will only be able to judge in the distant future.
An avid sports enthusiast, Darren presently is the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the Golf Association of Ontario. He has served as a Sports Editor with Etcetera Publications and colour commentator on TV Cogeco’s junior hockey coverage. He has covered a wide range of junior and professional sports including: hockey, golf, baseball and football to name a few.