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Sabres to select 8th at 2017 NHL Draft

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

TORONTO - For the second year in a row, the Buffalo Sabres will select eighth overall when the 2017 NHL Draft is held in Chicago on June 23 and 24. 

Three drawings were made to allocate the top three picks at the NHL Draft Lottery in Toronto on Saturday night. New Jersey won the drawing for the first overall pick, while Philadelphia will pick second and Dallas will pick third. 

The Sabres began the night with a 7.6-percent chance of obtaining the No. 1 pick, the sixth-highest odds among the 15 teams involved, but dropped two spots because Philadelphia and Dallas jumped into the top three. Dallas began the night with a 5.8-percent chance of winning the top draw, while Philadelphia had the third-worst odds at 2.2 percent. 

The Sabres have drafted eighth overall twice in franchise history - in 2013, when they selected Rasmus Ristolainen, and last summer when they picked Alexander Nylander. Other standout players who were selected eighth overall in recent years include Columbus defenseman Zach Werenski (2015) and Toronto forward William Nylander (2014).

NHL Central Scouting lists five centermen as the top North American-based skaters heading into the draft: Brandon's Nolan Patrick, Halifax's Nico Hischier, Eden Prairie's Casey Mittlestadt, Windsor's Gabriel Vilardi and Tri-City's Michael Rasmussen. 

Brooks defenseman Cale Makar - a UMass commit who scored 75 points (24+51) in the Alberta Junior Hockey League this past season - is listed as the top-ranked North American defenseman (10th among skaters). 

Forward Klim Kostin, centers Elias Pettersson and Lias Andersson, defenseman Miro Heiskanen and center Martin Necas are listed respectively as the top five prospects coming out of Europe, according to Central Scouting.  

Central Scouting's complete prospect rankings can be found here.

Here's the post-lottery draft order in its entirety:

1. New Jersey
2. Philadelphia 
3. Dallas 
4. Colorado 
5. Vancouver
6. Vegas
7. Arizona
8. Buffalo
9. Detroit 
10. Florida
11. Los Angeles
12. Carolina
13. Winnipeg 
14. Tampa Bay
15. New York Islanders

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