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Sharpen Up: May 1, 2017

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

The offseason rolls on and we begin to look ahead to the 2017 NHL Draft.

Here's what you need to know.

The 2017 NHL Draft Lottery took place on Saturday in Toronto and the Sabres had a 7.6 percent chance of winning the first overall pick. However, it was the New Jersey Devils, who at 8.5 percent, jumped up to the top of the draft board.

The Philadelphia Flyers (who had the third-worst odds going in) will pick second and the Dallas Stars (who only had a 5.8 percent chance of the first pick) will select third. 

Buffalo has used the eighth overall pick three times in franchise history. They selected Rasmus Ristolainen in 2013 and Alexandr Nylander last year.

Jourdon LaBarber was there for the lottery. Here's his recap, including a peek at the draft-eligible players to watch for.

The NHL Combine will commence during the last week of May and our Draft Coverage will run all through the month of June so you have all the info you need heading into the draft. 

The search continues

Sabres owner Terry Pegula held a press conference Sunday to announce some changes to the Buffalo Bills scouting department. During the 15-minute Q&A, he commented on the progress he and his wife Kim are making in the search for a new Sabres general manager.

"You know, we're close on the Sabres to having a final answer," he said.

World Championship begins Friday

We're waiting for more official rosters to be announced, but the IIHF World Championship in Cologne, Germany and Paris, France begins Friday. 

Jack Eichel and goaltending prospect Cal Petersen (USA), and Ryan O'Reilly (Canada) are confirmed to be participating in the tournament. Pre-tournament action starts Tuesday. 

If any member of the Sabres organization is playing in a game, we'll have a game recap for you.

Jersey auction live

Check out for your chance to bid on game-worn and team-issued jerseys. Lots of great throwbacks are up on the site.

Jerseys available include home and away jerseys of former and current Sabres including Robin Lehner, Zach Bogosian, John Scott and Maxim Afinogenov, several 40th anniversary jerseys - including those of Tyler Myers, Paul Gaustad and Drew Stafford - a Jack Eichel St. Patrick's Day warm-up jersey and several camouflage warm-up jerseys worn prior to the team's Military Appreciation Game this past November.

Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Buffalo Sabres Foundation.

On tap

We'll have Kris Baker's Sabres Prospects Report for you later today. And speaking of prospects, the Sabres signed defenseman Devante Stephens to an entry-level contract on Wednesday. Stephens, a fifth-round pick in 2015, completed his third season with the Kelowna Rockets (WHL), where he established career highs in goals (13), assists (22) and points (35) during the 2016-17 season. His goal total paced all Rockets defensemen and ranked ninth in the WHL. 

As always, stay tuned to throughout the week for any news and notes that may pop up along the way.  

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