'"Andy is an offensive defenseman who has been one of the most productive blue-liners in the NHL the past couple of seasons," Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said. "We feel that he will be a great addition to our power play and significantly enhance our offensive production from the back end."'
'If there is one area MacArthur might want to focus on, it’s defence. His plus-minus rating of -27 is the only sore spot on his current WHL resumé, but he points out it’s not exactly telling of his entire season. “First half I was -25, second half I was minus two, so we turned it around in the second half,” he said. “I want to round off my game, offensively and defensively so I can be a two-way player in the NHL one day. I’m a long ways away yet, but I’ll just keep working hard, go year by year like he (Hartnell) did and maybe something will turn out for me.”'
'Coach Lindy Ruff was pleased with the pick, considering Vanek could be ready to make the jump to the NHL. "He's more mature than some other players, so he's a year closer," Ruff said. "He's playing against older players, and that puts him a step ahead of a lot of other players."'
'Whatever direction, Regier already won. We're in the fourth week of June, the kids are out of school, and we're talking hockey. The picture certainly is prettier than it was a year ago. This might even be the setting for a playoff team.'
'Morrow, who stands 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 210 pounds, will play hockey at Boston University in the fall. "The first 10 guys drafted have legit chances of playing right away," Morrow said. "The rest are prospects drafted on where they are going to be."'
'"Clarke is a real good pick for Buffalo," Carriere said. "He's got a real good offensive instinct to him and he hates to give anything away, defensively. He takes a lot of pride in that."'
'"I think overall we would say we did a very good job," said Don Luce, Sabres director of player personnel. "We got the things we were looking for. We accomplished what we wanted to do."'
University of Minnesota forward Thomas Vanek, a three-year veteran of the United States Hockey League with Sioux Falls, was selected fifth overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the opening round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft this afternoon.
'He will meet with the Sabres' front office in the coming weeks to determine when he will turn professional, although the allure of more playing time and a shot at an NCAA three-peat with Minnesota is strong.'
'Although just 19 years old, the 6-foot-2, 208-pound Vanek was described by hockey analysts on ESPN2 as the best pure goal-scorer in the draft and one of few guys in the top five picks who is ready to play in the NHL next year.'
'Beginning with Jan Hejda, taken 106th overall, the Sabres concluded the draft by selecting five defensemen with their final seven picks.'
'"I won a championship there already and hopefully there is more to come," Vanek said. "I'm happy to be in Buffalo."'
'"I'll have to sit down with the organization and the coaches in Minnesota and make the best decision for me. We have to decide if the minor leagues or college hockey is better for me."'
'Scouts say Vanek can look disinterested for half the game and then just take it over with his skill. Where have we seen that before? Can anybody say Gil Perreault?'
'The Sabres rounded out the day by selecting Slovakian forward Branislav Fabry with the 65th pick and center Clarke MacArthur, who played for Medicine Hat of the Western Hockey League last year, at 74th.'