Buffalo Sabres Draft Picks: Predicting the NHL Draft Lottery


For some people, there is a science to everything, and that would include where you would want the Buffalo Sabres to end up in the 2015 NHL Standings to determine their position in the NHL Draft Lottery.

For some time now, I thought that allowing the team to get hot and make a valiant run into the middle of the pack was the best option; I mean how many teams have actually gotten the top overall draft pick and retained the rights to that pick since the NHL switched to the draft lottery format in 1995?

The only thing in life that is certain goes by the old adage, death and taxes, because taking a look at the history of the NHL Draft Lottery, there are two things that will happen to the Buffalo Sabres, they will retain the first overall draft pick, or they will pick second in the NHL Entry draft (if they continue on the crash course that is the 2014-2015 season).

Only six times in the history of the NHL Draft Lottery has the team with the number one pick in the draft order retained that pick post-lottery.  That is six out of nineteen times, or just about 32%.

The Ottawa Senators in 1996 (Chris Phillips), the 1997 Boston Bruins (Joe Thorton).  In 2006 the St. Louis Blues were the worst team in the league and kept the rights to take Erik Johnson.  Then there was a three year run where the top draft pick stayed with the worst team, from 2008-2010.

Tampa Bay (Steven Stamkos), NY Islanders (John Tavares), and Edmonton being the latest team to keep the honor  (Taylor Hall).

If the Buffalo Sabres hold on to the final spot in the standings, they will have a twenty percent chance of winning the top overall draft pick.  When you factor in the fact that the worst team has only won the draft  lottery six times, its more like a 6 percent chance of winning the draft lottery.

But there is no rhyme or reason to who has won the NHL Lottery in the past.  Save for the 2005 *special* lottery in which many felt the NHL “cheated” by fixing the draft lottery, the spectrum of who has won the NHL draft lottery has ranged from a top team moving a couple of places, to a bubble team getting the benefit of the higher draft pick.

There is a moral to the story here folks.  Sit back, enjoy the ride – because at the end of the day, it is what it is.  The draft either way is going to give us plenty to talk about, whether or not the Buffalo Sabres got screwed if they don’t get either number one or number two in the draft, or how much the Buffalo Sabres are going to rule the league in two to three more years when all our prospects turn into studs.

Next: Bogosian Is No Star, But Things Are Brighter In Buffalo

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