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Sabres to select 8th at 2020 NHL Draft

Phase 2 of NHL Draft Lottery will determine No. 1 pick

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

The Buffalo Sabres will hold the eighth pick at the 2020 NHL Draft. 

The No. 1 overall pick will be awarded during a "second phase" of the NHL Draft Lottery after it was won by one of eight placeholder teams during the first drawing on Friday. Los Angeles and Ottawa were awarded the second and third picks, respectively. 

The drawing on Friday consisted of the seven teams that will not participate in the league's 24-team return-to-play format, plus eight placeholder teams. The second phase will consist of a drawing between the eight clubs that lose in the qualifying round of a return-to-play scenario, each of which will have an equal chance at winning the top pick. 

The Sabres began the night with the seventh-best odds to win the No. 1 pick at 6.5 percent. The placeholder that won the lottery had the 12-best odds at 2.5 percent.

Video: Kevyn Adams reacts to 2020 NHL Draft Lottery results

Rimouski forward Alexis Lafreniere is widely expected to be selected with the No. 1 pick and is the top-ranked North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting Services. The top five is rounded out by Sudbury center Quinton Byfield, Erie defenseman Jamie Drysdale, USA defenseman Jake Sanderson, and Saginaw center Cole Perfetti, respectively. 

Central Scouting lists German winger Tim Stuetzle, Swedish winger Alexander Holtz, Finnish center Anton Lundell, Swedish winger Lucas Raymond, and Russian winger Rodion Amirov as the top five European skaters in the draft. 

Buffalo has held the eighth overall selection on three prior occasions in franchise history, all in the past seven years. The picks were used to select Rasmus Ristolainen in 2013, Alexander Nylander in 2016, and Casey Mittelstadt in 2017.

Current NHL players who were drafted eighth overall include Columbus defenseman Zach Werenski (2015), Toronto forward William Nylander (2014), and Philadelphia forward Sean Couturier (2011).

The 2020 NHL Draft has not yet been rescheduled. The event, originally scheduled to begin tonight in Montreal, was postponed due to the COVID-19 health crisis. 

Here is the draft order as it currently stands, with the remainder of the top 15 to be determined after phase two of the lottery.

2. Los Angeles 
3. Ottawa (from San Jose)
4. Detroit
5. Ottawa
6. Anaheim
7. New Jersey
8. Buffalo

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