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What Sabres fans need to know about the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery

The order of the top 16 selections will be determined Wednesday at 7

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

The 2021 NHL Draft Lottery will be held Wednesday at 7 p.m. with a few tweaks to the format from years prior. For Sabres fans, there are two key facts to know: 

1. The Sabres own the best odds of winning the lottery for the No. 1 overall pick at 16.6 percent. 

2. Buffalo is guaranteed to pick in the top three, with the third-overall selection being the most likely outcome. 

Beyond those two guiding facts, let us try to answer your questions. 


How to watch

Tune in Wednesday, June 2 on NBCSN at 7 p.m.


What's changed?

There are two big changes from years prior. The first is that there will only be two drawings, which will determine the top two picks. The teams who do not win a lottery will be assigned draft position based on inverse order of the standings. 

That means a team can only drop two spots from where they finished in the standings. (So, in the Sabres' case, they can fall no lower than third). Lotteries were held for the top three picks in years past, meaning teams could fall up to three spots. 

The other wrinkle is the addition of the expansion Seattle Kraken, who will join the 15 teams that did not make the playoffs for a chance at winning one of the two lotteries. Seattle will have the third-best odds, matching New Jersey, which is the same system the NHL used to introduce Vegas in 2017.

Here are the odds for all 16 teams to obtain the No. 1 pick: 

1. Buffalo Sabres - 16.6%
2. Anaheim Ducks - 12.1%
3. Seattle Kraken - 10.3%
4. New Jersey Devils - 10.3%
5. Columbus Blue Jackets - 8.5%
6. Detroit Red Wings - 7.6%
7. San Jose Sharks - 6.7%
8. Los Angeles Kings - 5.8%
9. Vancouver Canucks - 5.4%
10. Ottawa Senators - 4.5%
11. Arizona Coyotes - 3.1%
12. Chicago Blackhawks - 2.7%
13. Calgary Flames - 2.2%
14. Philadelphia Flyers - 1.8%
15. Dallas Stars - 1.4%
16. New York Rangers - 1.0%


What are the stakes?

There is talent to be had at the top of the draft, even if there is less consensus regarding the order than usual. NHL Central Scouting Services lists University of Michigan defenseman Owen Power as its top-ranked North American skater.

"Owen Power is at the top of this draft class as he is the best at his position," Central Scouting Director Dan Marr told "His game presence displayed NHL skills and attributes, and his game continued to mature and impact throughout the season."

Center Mason McTavish is ranked second among North American skaters after spending last season playing professionally in Switzerland and then finishing as one of the top three players on Canada's gold medal winning team at the U18 World Championship. The top five is rounded out by center Kent Johnson, defenseman Luke Hughes, and right wing Dylan Guenther. 

Central Scouting's top five European skaters are left wing William Eklund, defenseman Simon Edvinsson, center Aatu Raty, right wing Nikita Chibrikov, and defenseman Daniil Chayka. 

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