The second most important night of the season is here - the 2014 NHL Draft Lottery is tonight! After months of racing to the bottom, tonight's we'll find out exactly where the Buffalo Sabres, and their basement buddies, will pick.
The draft lottery can be seen tonight at 8:00pm on NBCSN and TSN, and it will be rebroadcast at 8:30 on NHLN. Depending on the results, the Buffalo Sabres will select either first or second overall in the first round of the draft. The results of the draft could also play into the plans for the New York Islanders, who owe the Sabres their first round pick either this year or next.
Here are the official draft odds, courtesy of NHL.com:
Based on team finish, the percentage chance of being selected in the Draft Lottery is:
Buffalo Sabres - 25.0% Toronto Maple Leafs - 3.6% Florida Panthers - 18.8% Winnipeg Jets - 2.7% Edmonton Oilers - 14.2% Anaheim Ducks (from Ottawa) - 2.1% Calgary Flames - 10.7% New Jersey Devils - 1.5% New York Islanders - 8.1% Nashville Predators - 1.1% Vancouver Canucks - 6.2% Phoenix Coyotes - 0.8% Carolina Hurricanes - 4.7% Washington Capitals - 0.5%
The important thing for Sabres fans to note, based on the way the lottery is structured, is that despite Buffalo's horrid season, it's far more likely that they will lose the draft lottery rather than win it. The Sabres have only a 25% chance of winning and thus having the #1 overall pick, so the simple math means that they have a 75% chance of picking #2. Of course, #2 means they'll still get a fantastically talented player, but Buffalo sports fans have long been conditioned to hope for the best and expect the worst.
One interesting wrinkle in this year's lottery is the fate of the New Jersey Devils, who through a series of cap circumvention penalties and reversals, are guaranteed to have the #30 pick in the draft. Should the Devils win the lottery, it will be redrawn.
The draft show starts at 8pm, and Sabres GM Tim Murray will be one of five team representatives in attendance. After his phenomenal performance at today's press conference, I'm looking forward to hearing what he has to say, win or lose. Let us know what you're looking forward to, and let's hope the Sabres find a way to win something more important than their season finale.