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2017 Lottery Primer: Potential outcomes for the Sabres

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

The NHL Draft Lottery will be held in Toronto this Saturday, and there are a few different ways it can play out for the Sabres. We'll put it simply: Buffalo can either jump into the top three, or pick anywhere from sixth to ninth. 

You can tune into lottery coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. on NBC, with the results set to be announced shortly after 8 p.m. You can also follow @BuffaloSabres on Twitter, or check back here for coverage after the order is announced.

Have questions about the process? We're here to help.


How it works

The top three spots are up for grabs for each of the 14 teams that missed the playoffs this season as well as Vegas, which will join the League next season (Vegas will have the same odds of obtaining the No. 1 pick, at 10.3 percent, as 28th-placed Arizona). 

Three drawings will be made to determine those three picks, with the first draw determining the No. 1 selection and so on. The Sabres will go into the night with a 7.6 percent chance at landing the top pick. From that point on, their odds will increase proportionately based on which team wins the previous draw. 

After the top three picks are selected, the remaining 12 teams will be ordered based on the standings from this past season. 

The odds for the first draw are as follows:

Colorado Avalanche 18.0%
Vancouver Canucks 12.1%
Vegas Golden Knights 10.3%
Arizona Coyotes 10.3%
New Jersey Devils 8.5%
Buffalo Sabres 7.6%
Detroit Red Wings 6.7%
Dallas Stars 5.8%
Florida Panthers 5.4%
Los Angeles Kings 4.5%
Carolina Hurricanes 3.2%
Winnipeg Jets 2.7%
Philadelphia Flyers 2.2%
Tampa Bay Lightning 1.8%
New York Islanders 0.9%

The Sabres will pick sixth if each of the top three choices are allocated to teams ahead of them on that list, meaning any assortment of Colorado, Vancouver, Vegas, Arizona and New Jersey. They'll be bumped back one spot for every team that jumps ahead of them into the top three, meaning they can fall back as far as ninth. 


Who are the prospects to know?

We'll go in-depth with all of the prospects once June rolls around, but here are a few names to keep in mind. At the top, Brandon center Nolan Patrick - some of former Sabre Steve Patrick - is the favorite to be taken first overall. He's ranked as the top North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. 

Halifax center Nico Hischier, a native of Switzerland who scored 86 points (38+48) as a rookie in the QMJHL this past season, is the second-ranked North American-based skater and might also draw consideration for the top pick. Central Scouting's top European-based skaters are Russian forward Klim Kostin and Swedish center Elias Pettersson.

Central Scouting lists Brooks defenseman Cale Makar - a UMass commit who scored 75 points (24+51) in the Alberta Junior Hockey League this past season - as the top-ranked North American defenseman, while Finland's Miro Heiskanen is the top European defenseman.  

Kris Baker of - who will begin counting down his list of the Top 30 prospects right here in June - has already compiled highlight reels for both Makar and Heiskanen, which you can find here

Central Scouting's complete rankings can be found here.


How about some historical context?

Well, since you asked. The Sabres have picked sixth just once in franchise history: in 1982, when they used the pick to select Hall of Fame defenseman Phil Housley. Housley spent eight seasons in Buffalo, and his 558 points as a Sabres are the fifth-most in franchise history. 

That same year, they had the ninth pick for the only time in franchise history, which they used to select Paul Cyr. 

Likewise, the Sabres have picked seventh once, when they selected Erik Rasmussen in 1996, and they've picked twice at eight overall: Alexander Nylander last year and Rasmus Ristolainen in 2013. 

If Buffalo does jump into the top three, it will mark the fifth time the franchise has held a top-three selection. The Sabres selected Gilbert Perreault and Pierre Turgeon at No. 1 overall in 1970 and 1987, respectively, as well as Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel at No. 2 in 2014 and 2015.  

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