The NHL hosted the draft lottery in Toronto on Saturday.
After a drawn out two-part ceremony, the Buffalo Sabres were announced the winners of the first overall pick and now have the right to select elite defense prospect Rasmus Dahlin.
Sabres GM Jason Botterill represented Buffalo at the lottery and did not show any emotion when the placard was flipped over to reveal the Sabres’ logo.
Dahlin, who has received a mountain of hype, is already receiving comparisons to fellow countryman Erik Karlsson.
“He’s a defenseman 31 teams in the NHL want,” Botterill said. “Ability to jump up on the rush, create. This is exciting. For the players too, they want to play with other skilled players. This is a good day.”
The first three selections of the NHL Draft will belong to Buffalo, Carolina, and Montreal.
The Hurricanes and Canadians moved up and into the top three, while Buffalo, the worse team in the standings, was able to hang on to the top pick.
“It’s a great feeling,” Botterill said. “It was nerve-racking at the very end. Just very, very happy for our fans.”
We've picked #1 overall only twice before in franchise history.
1970 (Gilbert Perreault) and 1987 (Pierre Turgeon). pic.twitter.com/BiREWNZl39
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) April 29, 2018
More from the NHL:
The Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes and Montreal Canadiens own the first, second and third overall drafting positions, respectively, for the First Round of the 2018 NHL Draft as a result of the 2018 NHL Draft Lottery Drawing in Toronto.
The clubs that did not qualify for the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs – or the clubs that acquired the first-round picks of the non-playoff clubs – participated in the 2018 NHL Draft Lottery.
The order of selection for the first 15 drafting positions in the First Round, only, of the 2018 NHL Draft is as follows:
1. Buffalo Sabres
2. Carolina Hurricanes
3. Montreal Canadiens
4. Ottawa Senators *
5. Arizona Coyotes
6. Detroit Red Wings
7. Vancouver Canucks
8. Chicago Blackhawks
9. New York Rangers
10. Edmonton Oilers
11. New York Islanders
12. New York Islanders (from Calgary)
13. Dallas Stars
14. Philadelphia Flyers (from St. Louis)
15. Florida Panthers
* Under the terms of a Nov. 5, 2017, trade: The Senators have the option to retain their pick and instead send the Avalanche their first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.
The remaining positions are determined by the results of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Three draws were held: the first drawing determined the club selecting first overall, the second drawing determined the club selecting second overall and the third drawing determined the club selecting third overall. Once a club was assigned a pick, it was ineligible for further participation in subsequent drawings.
Sabres Win No. 1 Drafting Position
In the drawing that determined the No. 1 drafting position, the Sabres had the greatest percentage likelihood of being selected based on inverse order of regular-season finish (18.5%). The Sabres, selected in the NHL Draft Lottery for the first time in franchise history, are the second team in the past three years to retain the first overall draft pick from the No. 1 spot (Toronto, 2016: selected Auston Matthews).
The Sabres have selected first overall twice before, in 1970 (Gilbert Perreault) and 1987 (Pierre Turgeon).
Hurricanes Win No. 2 Drafting Position
In the drawing that determined the No. 2 drafting position, the Hurricanes had the 10th-greatest percentage likelihood among the 14 remaining clubs eligible for selection (3.7%) and climbed from No. 11 to No. 2. The Hurricanes, selected in the NHL Draft Lottery for the first time in franchise history, also became the first team from the No. 11 spot to win a Draft Lottery drawing.
The club has picked No. 2 overall three times before: 1983 (Sylvain Turgeon) and 1993 (Chris Pronger), when the franchise was located in Hartford, and 2003 (Eric Staal).
Canadiens Win No. 3 Drafting Position
In the drawing that determined the No. 3 drafting position, the Canadiens had the third-greatest percentage likelihood among the 13 remaining clubs eligible for selection (12.1%). After dropping from No. 4 to No. 5 as a result of the second drawing, Montreal climbed to No. 3, improving its drafting position as a result of the Draft Lottery for the first time in franchise history. The Canadiens have selected third overall once (since 1969, the first draft in which all junior players were eligible for selection), taking Alex Galchenyuk at No. 3 in 2012.
For each of the three drawings, 14 balls, numbered 1 to 14, were placed in a lottery machine. The machine randomly selected four balls. The resulting four-number series (without regard to selection order) was matched against a chart that shows all possible combinations and the clubs to which each was assigned. The chart showed that the Sabres had been assigned the numbers (1-4-6-14) that were expelled in the first drawing, followed by the Hurricanes (1-2-5-14) in the second drawing and the Canadiens (4-5-6-8) in the third drawing.
In the initial drawing to determine the No. 3 drafting position, the resulting four-number series (without regard to selection order) — 1-2-6-12 — was assigned to the Sabres, who had already been assigned the No. 1 drafting position and were ineligible for selection. A re-draw was held, resulting in the Canadiens being awarded the No. 3 spot.
The 2018 NHL Draft will take place at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The first round will be held Friday, June 22. Rounds 2-7 will take place Saturday, June 23.
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