Welcome to the new weekly edition of Sharpen Up.
Here's what you need to know.
The Draft Lottery is next Saturday
On the night of April 29, the order of the top 15 picks of the 2017 NHL Draft (hosted by Chicago at the end of June) will be revealed.
Here's the technical stuff from the NHL...
The 2017 NHL Draft Lottery will consist of three drawings: the 1st Lottery Draw will determine the club selecting first overall, the 2nd Lottery Draw will determine the club selecting second overall and the 3rd Lottery Draw will determine the club selecting third overall.
Participants in the Draft Lottery include the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, who begin play in the 2017-18 season, and all other 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).
The Golden Knights will be afforded the exact same lottery odds as the team finishing the regular season in 28th place -- or with the third-worst regular-season record. They will be guaranteed no lower than the sixth overall selection.
To accommodate the addition of a 15th team in the Draft Lottery, the odds for all other participating teams have been reduced proportionally from the odds utilized in last year's Draft Lottery.
The allocation of odds for the 1st Lottery Draw of the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery is as follows:
(Fewest Pts. to Most) Odds
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%
* Vegas assigned same lottery odds as the team finishing the regular season in 28th place
The odds for the remaining teams will increase on a proportionate basis for the 2nd Lottery Draw, based on which club wins the 1st Lottery Draw, and again for the 3rd Lottery Draw, based on which club wins the 2nd Lottery Draw.
The 12 clubs not selected in the Draft Lottery will be assigned NHL Draft selections 4 through 15, in inverse order of regular-season points.
The 2017 NHL Draft will take place at the United Center in Chicago. The first round will take place on Friday, June 23rd and the subsequent rounds (2 through 7) on Saturday, June 24th.
The top prospect?
According to NHL Central Scouting, Brandon Wheat Kings forward Nolan Patrick is the best player available.
More from NHL.com's Mike Morreale…
Patrick (6-foot-2, 198 pounds), the son of former NHL player Steve Patrick and nephew of former NHL player James Patrick, is No. 1 despite missing 35 regular-season games because of an upper-body injury and all four WHL playoff games because of a lower-body injury.
His injury issues actually started during the 2016 WHL playoffs and he needed surgery in July to repair a sports hernia. He returned to play the first five games of the season but then left the lineup until Jan. 13. He returned and had 46 points (20 goals, 26 assists) in 33 games, but then was unavailable for Brandon in the 2017 WHL postseason.
Despite Patrick's injury issues, he is the first WHL forward since Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of Red Deer in 2011 to be No. 1 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, and the first WHL player since defenseman Seth Jones of Portland in 2013.
"He's got a good understanding of the game, has been taught good fundamentals from a young age," said Matt Ryan of NHL Central Scouting. "There are a lot of guys who don't seem to have that understanding of the effort it takes to play at a high level with and without the puck. Nolan Patrick does."
Central Scouting's full rankings can be found here.
We'll have a lot more on all of this after the lottery and when our Draft Coverage kicks into full swing folllowing the NHL Scouting Combine on June 2 at HarborCenter.
World Championship begins May 5
European audiences will be treated to some NHL-level action next month when the 2017 IIHF Men's World Championship rolls into Cologne, Germany and Paris, France.
Roster announcements will begin to trickle in over the next few weeks, so stay tuned for those announcements. Ryan O'Reilly (Canada) and Zemgus Girgensons (Latvia) said on Locker Cleanout Day that they will represent their countries in the tournament.
Sabres goaltending prospect Cal Petersen accepted Team USA's invitation to participate in the tournament as well. The Notre Dame standout (who just finished his junior season) is one of three goaltenders on the World Championship team, along with Winnipeg's Connor Hellebucyk and Detroit's Jimmy Howard.
More end-of-season notes
Video: MURRAY: PRESS CONFERENCE
If you missed anything from Tim Murray's press conference last week, we've got you covered here.
We'll have our weekly Sabres Prospects Report from Kris Baker for you today. Giorgio Estephan and Cliff Pu are each set to play in a Game 7 on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Devante Stephens and Austin Osmanski are in the middle of a series with their respective clubs.
UPDATE: Here's the Prospects Report.
The Amerks wrapped up their last this past weekend and we'll have the recaps for you in Tuesday's final Amerks Update.
UPDATE: Here's an update to let you know that this week's Amerks Update is out and, well, updated.
Stick with us for any other breaking news. We'll begin our Season In Review written series this week as well.
And for more hockey talk throughout the week? Don't forget about The Instigators with Andrew Peters and Craig Rivet every weekday from 10 a.m. until noon on MSG and WGR 550.