Primary need: Defensemen
The Sabres were already seeking a bona fide No. 1 defenseman even before losing Alexei Zhitnik to unrestricted free agency. Now, they probably have their sights set higher than Zhitnik, with players such as Sergei Gonchar, Scott Niedermayer, Adam Foote, Brian Rafalski, Brian Leetch, Chris Pronger and Derian Hatcher all available this off-season. Buffalo should be able land one of them, or turn to Zhitnik as a fallback option. The Sabres may also take a defenseman with their first-round pick (13th overall) in this year's draft, which would help fill the need in the long run.
They seem to be a lot more optimistic than we are. Hope they're right.
Secondary need: Center depth
It's likely that neither 2000 first-round selection (15th overall) Artem Kriukov nor 2001 top pick (22nd overall) Jiri Novotny will become legit NHL centers, so look for the Sabres to stock up at the position later on in the draft. For now, the team is set with the likes of Daniel Briere, Derek Roy, Chris Drury, Tim Connolly, Adam Mair and Paul Gaustad up the middle. However, a new wave of centers is needed in the system.
If a center is the BPA at #13 take him there. I wouldn't wait until later rounds, particularly if the guy has size.
The Sabres might be able to move up in the first round. They may even put together a package for Anaheim in order to acquire the No. 2 pick--which they would use to select defenseman Jack Johnson. The key to any potential deal Buffalo makes is right wing Miroslav Satan, who is not expected back in 2005-06. Satan is, however, expected to be qualified as a restricted free agent in order to receive something in return.
Some good reading. We can only pray we land one of those fine defensemen mentioned.
As far as the center analysis they probably should have mentioned that while we have good young center depth right now, it lacks size and clear #1 talent. Therefore I agree with you that if a big center at #13 is the BPA we need to take him. Though I think we should nab the BPA regardless of position. We can use long-term help everywhere and we can always try filling more immediate holes through free agency.