During the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season, the Buffalo Sabres tied the 2003-04 Penguins for the longest losing streak in NHL history (18 games). On Wednesday, they were rewarded by lady luck for their sheer and unfathomable terribleness.
The Sabres won the 2021 Draft Lottery for the second time in franchise history. According to the NHL’s PR, Buffalo’s draft lottery win marks the third time since 2016 that the team in the No. 1 position has retained the No. 1 overall pick (Toronto in 2016, Buffalo in 2018 and 2021).
The Sabres will have the opportunity to select 6-foot-6 defenseman Owen Power with the first overall pick (if they so choose).
The Sabres should probably thank Taylor Hall for this honor.
This is the fifth time that Taylor Hall’s most recent eligible team has won the draft lottery. He was also drafted with a lottery-winning pick. He was also once traded for a player who was drafted with a lottery-winning pick.
— Down Goes Brown (@DownGoesBrown) June 2, 2021
Meanwhile, the Seattle Kraken became the first expansion team to be selected in an NHL Draft Lottery. Seattle had the same odds of getting the first overall pick as the third-worst team in the NHL this season (29th place NJD).
Kraken general manager Ron Francis responded to the news by blinking several times.
Calm, cool and collected. 😎
— Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) June 3, 2021
The most memorable moment of the lottery was Jim Nill’s reaction to not moving up from the team’s 14th position. The Dallas Stars’ GM frowned and sassily ripped his earbuds off his head.
When your boss asks what you even did today pic.twitter.com/hoEgHGklyG
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 2, 2021
The NHL Draft will be held virtually on Friday, July 23. Rounds 2-7 will occur on Saturday, July 24.
Here’s the full press release from the NHL:
Sabres Win Lottery and First Selection in 2021 NHL Draft; Kraken Land 2nd Overall Pick
SECAUCUS, N.J. (June 2, 2021) — The Buffalo Sabres and Seattle Kraken own the first and second overall drafting positions, respectively, for the First Round of the 2021 NHL Draft as a result of the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery Drawing, conducted this evening at NHL Network’s Secaucus, N.J., studio.
Participants in the Draft Lottery included the expansion Kraken, who begin play in the 2021-22 season, and Clubs that did not qualify for this season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Two draws were held: the first drawing determined the club selecting first overall and the second drawing determined the club selecting second overall. Once a club was assigned a pick, it was ineligible for further participation in subsequent drawings.
The order of selection for the first 15* drafting positions in the First Round, only, of the 2021 NHL Draft is as follows:
1. Buffalo Sabres
2. Seattle Kraken
3. Anaheim Ducks
4. New Jersey Devils
5. Columbus Blue Jackets
6. Detroit Red Wings
7. San Jose Sharks
8. Los Angeles Kings
9. Vancouver Canucks
10. Ottawa Senators
11. Chicago Blackhawks
12. Calgary Flames
13. Philadelphia Flyers
14. Dallas Stars
15. New York Rangers
* NHL announced forfeiture of Arizona Coyotes’ 1st-round pick in 2021 NHL Draft in sanctions announced Aug. 26, 2020.
The remaining positions are determined by the results of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
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 (16.6%). It marks the third time since 2016 the team in the No. 1 position has retained the No. 1 overall pick in the Draft Lottery (Toronto in 2016, Buffalo in 2018 and 2021).
The Sabres won the NHL Draft Lottery for the second time; in 2018, they retained the first overall selection and went on to select defenseman Rasmus Dahlin.
Buffalo has picked No. 1 overall three times: 1970 (Gilbert Perreault), 1987 (Pierre Turgeon) and 2018 (Dahlin).
Kraken Win No. 2 Drafting Position
In the drawing that determined the No. 2 drafting position, the Kraken had a share of the second-greatest percentage likelihood among the remaining clubs eligible for selection (12.4%).
Under the terms of expansion the Kraken were afforded the same lottery odds as the Club finishing the regular season with the third-worst record (29th place, the New Jersey Devils) and slotted ahead of that Club in the event neither was selected for either of the top two overall drafting positions.
The Kraken become the first expansion team to be selected in an NHL Draft Lottery. The Nashville Predators dropped from 2 to 3 in 1998, Atlanta Thrashers stayed at 2 in 1999, Minnesota Wild dropped from 2 to 3 in 2000, Columbus Blue Jackets dropped from 3 to 4 in 2000 and Vegas Golden Knights dropped from 3 to 6 in 2017.
For each of the two 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 (4-5-8-14) that were expelled in the first drawing, followed by the Kraken (1-9-10-11) in the second drawing.
2021 NHL Draft
The 2021 NHL Draft will be held virtually over two days. Round 1 will take place on Friday, July 23, followed by Rounds 2-7 on Saturday, July 24.
Owen Power, a 6’ 6” defenseman from the University of Michigan, places No. 1 among North American Draft prospects in rankings released last week by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau. Rounding out the top-five North American skaters are No. 2 Mason McTavish, a center for Peterborough of the Ontario Hockey League who played on loan with Olten of the Swiss second division in 2020-21; No. 3 Kent Johnson, a center with the University of Michigan; No. 4 Luke Hughes, a defenseman from Team USA’s Under-18 National Team Development Program and the brother of recent high-end selections Quinn Hughes (No. 7 by VAN in 2018) and Jack Hughes (No. 1 by NJD in 2019); and No. 5 Dylan Guenther, a forward from Edmonton of the Western Hockey League.
William Eklund, a left wing for Djurgarden of the Swedish Hockey League, tops all international skaters while Sebastian Cossa of Edmonton in the WHL and Jesper Wallstedt of Lulea in the Swedish Hockey League rank No. 1 among goaltenders on the North America and International lists, respectively.
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