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by Chris Ryndak / Buffalo Sabres

TORONTO – The Buffalo Sabres will select eighth overall at the 2016 NHL Draft, which they'll host on June 24 and 25 at First Niagara Center.

The Sabres entered Saturday night with a 6-percent chance of winning the NHL Draft Lottery and selecting first overall, but the Toronto Maple Leafs, who had the best odds, won the lottery and now hold the top pick.

The winning combination of lottery balls for the first-overall pick was 5-6-8-13. Buffalo had a 1-in-6 chance of winning that lottery heading into the final draw, as they were assigned a combination of 5-6-8-9 heading in.

For the first time, the top three picks could be won by non-playoff teams in separate lotteries. Winnipeg jumped from sixth to second and the Columbus Blue Jackets moved up from fourth to third.

NHL Central Scouting's final rankings has U.S.-born forward Auston Matthews (Zurich/SWISS) topping the list of skaters playing in Europe. Wings Patrik Laine (Tappara/FINLAND) and Jesse Puljujarvi (Karpat/FINLAND) slotted second and third, respectively. They're likely to be the top three picks in the draft.

Among skaters playing in North American Leagues, left wings Pierre-Luc Dubois (Cape Breton/QMJHL), Matthew Tkachuk (London/OHL), Alexander Nylander (Mississauga/OHL), defenseman Jacob Chychrun (Sarnia/OHL) and Olli Juolevi (London/OHL) are the top five prospects according to Central Scouting.

Buffalo last selected eighth overall in 2013 and picked defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, who put up career-highs in goals (9), assists (32) and points (41) last season while averaging 25:16 of ice time per night (10th in the NHL).


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