Luke Adam of St. John's shows off his Buffalo Sabres jersey following the NHL Entry Draft Saturday in Ottawa. Photo by Getty Images
As the National Hockey League Entry Draft began to move toward the middle of the second round Saturday in Ottawa, Luke Adam couldn't help but take particular notice of the empty space next to the 44th slot on the big draft board, indicating a pick belonging to the Buffalo Sabres.
Like almost everyone else at Scotiabank Place watching through the first round Friday night, and into the remainder of the draft on Saturday, Adam had been trying to figure out which prospects would go where.
In Adam's case, there was much more than curiosity involved. After all, the 18-year-old from Kilbride was one of the highest-ranked players from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and had been pegged as someone who would probably be taken in the top 50 picks.
Plenty of NHL organizations had shown an interest in Adam leading up to the draft, so he knew he could end up going to almost anyone, but he had an inkling about the Sabres.
"I spoke to Buffalo a few times throughout the season and I always knew they were pretty interested," said Adam.
"Coming up to that pick, I didn't want to say anything and jinx myself, but I kind of said to myself, 'This could be it right here.'"
It was. The Sabres announced Adam's name, fulfilling his mini premonition.
"So it wasn't a huge, huge surprise, but even when they did actually pick me, it took a little while to kick in. It's hard to describe the feeling, but I can easily say it was the biggest moment of my life," he said.
Adam was pleased and so were the Sabres.
"After I got picked, we had to take photos and do some other stuff and then the Sabres invited me and my family up to the suite they had and we saw the rest of the draft from there," said Adam.
"After it was finished, all the Sabres' people came to meet us and they seemed to be pretty happy and excited."
So they might have been. Well-known hockey analyst Bob McKenzie, working for the NHL Network's online coverage Saturday from Ottawa, commented on the number of NHL stars who had been taken in the second rounds of previous drafts and then made particular note of Adam, saying that of all the 31 players taken in Saturday's second round, he might be the one most worth watching.
The Sabres should have a very good read on Adam, since two of his teammates on the QMJHL's St. John's Fog Devils last season - Jean-Simon Allard and T.J. Brennan - had been 2007 draft picks of Buffalo, meaning that Sabres scout Al MacAdam, a former coach of the AHL's St. John's Maple Leafs, had been paying close attention to the Foggies over the winter.
And it won't be long before Adam begins to get a good read on the Sabres' organization. On Tuesday, he'll be in Buffalo to take part in the Sabres' week-long summer prospects camp.
"I was talking to both T.J. and J.S., and they will be there," said Adam. "In all, there will be about 40 guys taking part."
That number will also include two other QMJHL players selected by the Sabres on Saturday - P.E.I. Rocket defenceman Jordan Southorn and Chicoutimi Sagueneens' forward Jacob Lagace.
"This will be a lot better than not knowing anyone, having two guys I know and a couple of other familiar faces," said Adam. "But even if none of them were there and I didn't know a single person (in the Sabres' organization), I don't think I'd be any less excited."