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by Kevin Snow / Buffalo Sabres

The Buffalo Sabres will have the 12th overall selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft that will take place on June 22-23 at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Buffalo’s draft position was confirmed tonight at the NHL Draft Lottery announcement held at the TSN Studios in Toronto.

Buffalo also owns Nashville’s first-round selection as a result of the Deadline Day trade that sent Paul Gaustad to the Predators. Nashville finished fifth overall (26th in the draft order) this season, but their final draft position won’t be determined until the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

This is Buffalo’s highest draft position since 2008 when they took towering defensemen Tyler Myers with the 12th overall pick. The Sabres also struck gold 14 picks later in that same draft when they used their second pick of the opening round to grab speedy forward Tyler Ennis at the 26th spot.

The Edmonton Oilers were the big winners of tonight’s lottery, using 18.8 percent odds to jump from first to second, overtaking the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs own the third, fourth and fifth drafting positions, respectively, in the first round.

The Draft Lottery is a weighted lottery system that determines the order of selection for the first 14 picks of the Entry Draft. Clubs that did not qualify for this season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, or clubs that acquired the first-round picks of those non-playoff clubs, participated in the Draft Drawing. Participating clubs could not move up more than four positions or down more than one position in the draft order as a result of the Draft Drawing.

The order of selection for the first 14 drafting positions in the first round, only, of the 2012 NHL Draft is as follows:

1.  Edmonton Oilers
2.  Columbus Blue Jackets
3.  Montreal Canadiens
4.  New York Islanders
5.  Toronto Maple Leafs
6.  Anaheim Ducks
7.  Minnesota Wild
8.  Carolina Hurricanes
9.  Winnipeg Jets
10.  Tampa Bay Lightning
11.  Washington Capitals (from Colorado)
12.  Buffalo Sabres
13.  Dallas Stars
14.  Calgary Flames

The remaining positions are determined by the results of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The lottery gives the teams that finished with the fewest points during the regular season the greatest chance of having their combination selected. The Columbus Blue Jackets finished the regular season with the fewest points in the League (65) and were assigned the greatest number of combinations, representing a 25% likelihood that their combination would emerge. Oilers were assigned 18.8% of the combinations, followed by Montreal (14.2%), the Islanders (10.7%) and Toronto (8.1%).  The remaining teams had the following chances: 6.2%, 4.7%, 3.6%, 2.7%, 2.1%, 1.5%, 1.1%, 0.8% and 0.5%.

Fourteen balls, numbered 1 to 14, were placed in a lottery machine. The machine expelled four balls, forming a series of numbers. The four-digit series resulting from the expulsion of the balls was matched against a probability chart that divided the possible combinations among the 14 participating clubs. The chart showed that the Oilers had been assigned the numbers (2-10-11-13) that were expelled.

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