Last-place Sabres win NHL draft lottery

Associated Press

The Buffalo Sabres followed a season filled with losses by finally winning something — the NHL draft lottery — and landing the No. 1 pick for just third time in franchise history.

The Sabres became the first team to finish 31st in the standings following the addition of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights. And they entered the draft lottery in Toronto on Saturday night with the best odds — 18.5 percent— to win the first pick.

The Sabres overcame their past disappointments the last two times they finished last and settled for the No. 2 pick in both 2014 and 2015.

The Carolina Hurricanes landed the No. 2 pick in making the biggest jump in the order by moving up from the 11th spot. The Montreal Canadiens moved up one spot in the order and will select third.

The Hurricanes and Canadiens moved ahead of Ottawa and Arizona. The Senators dropped from the second slot to having the fourth pick, and Arizona dropped from third to fifth.

This year’s draft will be held at Dallas on June 22-23.

Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin is regarded as the top-rated prospect and is listed first among European skaters in the final NHL Central Scouting Bureau’s final rankings. Russian forward Andrei Svechnikov is the top-ranked North American prospect based on him playing for Barrie of the Ontario Hockey League.

“We’re absolutely ecstatic,” Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said before noting the splashes the Buffalo Bills made in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday. “It’s been a couple of great days for our fan bases.”

The Bills, who like the Sabres are also owned by Terry and Kim Pegula, traded up in the draft order to select Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen with the seventh pick and then traded up again to select Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds at 16th.

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