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Slim pickins': How likely are the Sabres to land the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery

After improving on last season, the Sabres have much lower odds to land the top pick in the draft than they did in 2021.
Credit: AP
Buffalo Sabres defenseman Owen Power (25) celebrates his goal during the third period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, April 29, 2022, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Sabres have a 5% chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick in the NHL Draft for the second straight year when the lottery takes place at NHL Network's studio in Secaucus, N.J. at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

With its own pick in the draft, the Sabres can pick first, second, ninth, 10th, or 11th, determined by the lottery draws for the top two picks.

The bottom 16 teams in the league this season will enter the lottery. With Montreal finishing in the NHL's basement, the Canadiens will have the highest likelihood to land the top pick - as the Sabres did last season in the same position - with an 18.5% chance.

After the first lottery, the 15 remaining teams' odds will be adjusted, and the second overall pick will be revealed.

If the Sabres do not win either of the two lotteries, they will pick either:

  • 9th, if two teams who finished below them in the standings win the lotteries
  • 10th, if one team who finished below them and another above them in the standings win the lotteries, or
  • 11th, if both teams who win the lotteries finished above them in the standings.

The Sabres also own Vegas' top pick in the draft, as a part of the Jack Eichel trade, as long as the Golden Knights do not win either lottery, with that pick being top-10 protected.

If the Knights do land in the top-10 pick, Buffalo will get their selection, unprotected, in the 2023 Draft.

Vegas has the lowest likelihood in the lotteries, at 16th, and will have only a 0.5% chance to win the first one.

The Knights' pick can only move as high as No. 6 because of a new lottery rule this year, which only allows teams to move up 10 spots maximum from where they finished in the standings.

The Sabres will also have a late first-round pick from the Florida Panthers they acquired last summer in the Sam Reinhart trade.

The likely outcome: Buffalo has three first-round picks for the NHL Draft, which begins on July 7.

The Sabres selected defenseman Owen Power with the No. 1 pick in last year's draft. He played eight games with Buffalo this season after completing his sophomore year at the University of Michigan.