In previous years only the bottom five teams during the NHL's regular season had a shot at the first draft pick since the rules dictated that no team could move up more than four spots in the lottery. This time around though things are different with all fourteen teams that failed to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs having a chance to get the coveted first shot, like in the NBA.
The Buffalo Sabres ended the season in 23rd place, and this puts them in 8th place in the queue. With the weighted system in place, that gives the Sabres a 3.6% chance at the first pick, with the bottom team Panthers having a 25% chance.
Here is the official text from the NHL -
The NHL Draft Lottery is a weighted system to determine the order of selection for the first 14 picks of the 2013 NHL Draft. Teams finishing with the fewest points during the regular season possess the greatest chance of winning the right to the first pick in the NHL Draft. Fourteen balls, numbered 1 to 14, are placed in a lottery machine. The machine expels four balls, forming a series of numbers. The four-digit series resulting from the expulsion of the balls is matched against a probability chart that divides the possible combinations among the 14 participating clubs.
While the top pick can now go to any of the 14 non-playoff clubs, or the team owning the rights to the first pick of a non-playoff club, the odds of winning the lottery are unchanged from previous years. The teams in the drawing are ranked in inverse order of their regular season point totals, with team one being the club with the fewest points, and team 14 being the club with the most points among those outside of the playoffs.
The likelihood of each team gaining the right to the first pick is as follows:
Florida Panthers 25.0%
Colorado Avalanche 18.8%
Tampa Bay Lightning 14.2%
Nashville Predators 10.7%
Carolina Hurricanes 8.1%
Calgary Flames 6.2%
Edmonton Oilers 4.7%
Buffalo Sabres 3.6%
New Jersey Devils 2.7%
Dallas Stars 2.1%
Philadelphia Flyers 1.5%
Phoenix Coyotes 1.1%
Winnipeg Jets 0.8%
Columbus Blue Jackets 0.5%
No club will move down more than one position as a result of the Draft Lottery. The remaining first round drafting positions are determined by the results of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The second last line there is of particular importance, as that means the Sabres could pick either:
- 1st - if Buffalo wins the lottery.
- 8th - if either one of Florida, Colorado, Tampa Bay, Nashville, Carolina, Calgary or Edmonton win the lottery.
- 9th - if either one of New Jersey, Dallas, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Winnipeg or Columbus win the lottery.
The NHL Draft Lottery will be held at 8pm EST on Monday April 29th, with live telecasts on NBC Sports Network in the US and on TSN in Canada.