The Buffalo Sabres have secured the first overall pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft after winning the draft lottery Wednesday.
The expansion Seattle Kraken will have the second overall pick, while the Anaheim Ducks will pick third.
This will be the fourth number one draft pick in Sabres franchise history and the second in the last three years.
“It’s a great moment for our franchise. It’s obviously been a tough year,” Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said. “We’re very excited, we’re proud to have this selection. It’s a step in the right direction.”
Buffalo has been looking for anything to right the ship. They fired head coach Ralph Krueger in mid-March and missed the playoffs for the 14th straight season, rolling to a last overall finish in the standings.
They had a 16.6 percent chance of winning the top pick in the lottery.
The Arizona Coyotes did not receive a shot at winning the lottery after they were stripped of their first round pick for violating league rules ahead of the 2020 pre-draft combine. They also lost their second round pick from last year’s draft.
The remaining dozen teams kept to their order of drafting where they finished in the standings after the regular season.
The first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft is due to go down July 23. That will be two days after the expansion draft, in which Seattle will select one player from each team.
Mississauga’s Owen Power currently leads all draft prospects and is the favourite to go number one. The defenceman is skating with Canada at the World Hockey championships in Latvia.
The Sabres are hoping to draft themselves out of a bad situation, with morale at a low in Buffalo.
The Sabres are scheduled to meet with captain Jack Eichel this week to discuss surgery options, including cervical disc replacement surgery, but the issue has ballooned into a significant difference of opinion. Eichel missed the last two months of the season and expressed discontent with the club over how they have handled his injury.
Adams definitely has his work cut out for him, but winning the draft lottery is something at least. Next on his list is a coaching decision.