2015 NHL Draft Lottery: Buffalo Sabres Have Best Odds Of Obtaining Top Pick

The NHL will conduct its 2015 draft lottery for its non-playoff participating teams Saturday, according to Chris Peters of CBS Sports.

The 14 teams left out of the hunt for Lord’s Stanley Cup will have their future unveiled during a live broadcast on NBC at 8 p.m. (ET). The draft event immediately follows NBC’s telecast of Game 2 of the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins first round series.

The Buffalo Sabres (23-51-8) finished with an NHL-worst 54 points and will have a 20 percent chance of obtaining the first pick. If the Sabres don’t win the lottery, they will receive the No. 2 overall selection, as teams cannot fall lower than one position below their standings placement.

The Sabres have a 5 percent lower chance of snagging the first pick than they would have had if they finished in the same position last year. Arizona, Edmonton, and Toronto also have lower odds of obtaining the top overall pick than they would have in the old system, according to Bleacher Report’s Andrew Gould.

Still, Arizona (56 points) has the next best chance of winning the lottery at 13.5 percent. Following the Coyotes are the Edmonton Oilers (11.5 percent), Toronto Maple Leafs (9.5 percent), and Carolina Hurricanes (8.5 percent), the New Jersey Devils have the sixth best chance at obtaining the top overall pick at 7.5 percent. Philadelphia, Columbus, San Jose, Colorado, Florida, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Boston round out the lottery participants.

Buffalo Sabres 20.0% 20.0% 80.0%
Arizona Coyotes 13.5% 20.0% 66.5%
Edmonton Oilers 11.5% 33.5% 55.0%
Toronto Maple Leafs 9.5% 45.0% 45.5%
Carolina Hurricanes 8.5% 54.5% 37.0%
New Jersey Devils 7.5% 63.0% 29.5%
Philadelphia Flyers 6.5% 70.5% 23.0%
Columbus Blue Jackets 6.0% 77.0% 17.0%
San Jose Sharks 5.0% 83.0% 12.0%
Colorado Avalanche 3.5% 88.0% 8.5%
Florida Panthers 3.0% 91.5% 5.5%
Dallas Stars 2.5% 94.5% 3.0%
Los Angeles Kings 2.0% 97.0% 1.0%
Boston Bruins 1.0% 99.0% 0.0%

Peters explained how the draft lottery works.

“Fourteen balls, numbered 1 to 14, are placed in a lottery machine. The machine randomly selects four balls. The resulting four-number series (without regard to selection order) is matched against a chart that shows all possible combinations and the Clubs to which each is assigned.

“The chart of assigned combinations will be posted at NHL.com on Friday, April 17. The complete process, including the video of the lottery drawing, also will be available on NHL.com after the lottery is conducted.”

The winner of the draft lottery is expected to select 18-year-old Canadian Connor McDavid. McDavid, a center, played for the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League. In 47 games for the Otters, McDavid tallied 44 goals and amassed 120 points.

McDavid has picked up his game during Otters’ postseason run. In eight postseason games, McDavid has 10 goals and 11 assists. He tallied five goals in Game 2 of Erie’s second round playoff series against the London Knights on April 10. He then had three assists in Game 3 of the series (Sunday night) as the Otters’ took a 3-0 lead in the series.

McDavid was named the Pioneer Energy OHL Player of the Week for the week ending April 12.

Even if the Sabres don’t win the McDavid sweepstakes, they should be able to get a stud player — presumably Boston University’s freshman Jack Eichel. Eichel became just the second freshman to receive the Hobey Baker award — for the Most Outstanding Player in College Hockey. Eichel totaled 71 points, which includes 26 goals in 40 games this year.

The Florida Panthers won the 2014 draft lottery and selected Canadian Aaron Ekblad.

The 2015 NHL Entry Draft will be held June 26-27 in Sunrise, Florida, at the BB&T Center.

[photo by Bruce Bennett/ Getty Images]