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2017 NHL Draft Lottery preview: Odds, time, TV coverage and live streaming

Everything you need to know about the lottery Buffalo never wins

2008 NHL Draft Drawing
The balls in the lottery machine
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images for the NHL

The Buffalo Sabres are currently slated to pick sixth in what is widely considered the weakest NHL Entry Draft class in years. The needs for the Sabres remain the same as last season - a couple of top four defensemen, scoring wingers and a hefty injection of skill and pace across the board.

The Draft is still a couple of months away and this is not a bad thing this year because the Buffalo front office is in turmoil with no GM or Head Coach in place yet. However, the usually-anticlimactic Lottery to determine the order of the top three picks will be held tonight.

The Event

WHAT: The 2017 NHL Draft Lottery to determine the order of selection for the first 15 picks in the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft

WHERE: CBC Toronto, 205 Wellington St. W, Toronto, Ontario

WHEN: Saturday, April 29, 2017 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. ET

HOW: Results of the Lottery will be announced shortly after 8 p.m. ET on NBC, Sportsnet, CBC and TVA Sports. (Coverage on Sportsnet and CBC begins at 7:30 p.m. ET.)

The Process

The 2017 NHL Draft Lottery will consist of three drawings: the 1st Lottery Draw will determine the club selecting first overall, the 2nd Lottery Draw will determine the club selecting second overall and the 3rd Lottery Draw will determine the club selecting third overall.

The Odds

To accommodate the addition of a 15th team in the Draft Lottery, the odds for all other participating teams have been reduced proportionally from the odds utilized in last year's Draft Lottery. The allocation of odds is as follows:

Composite odds chart for NHL Draft Lottery

The Math

To determine the winner, the official lottery machine is loaded with 15 balls, each bearing one number, 1 to 15. The NHL Draft Lottery involves drawing one set of four numbers from the machine. One ball is expelled from the machine at a ten-second interval until four balls are discharged.

Without regard to the order the numbers are drawn, there are exactly 1,001 four-number combinations. Each of the 15 teams in the NHL Draft Lottery is assigned the number of combinations corresponding to the odds allocated to them by their regular-season finish (i.e., the team given a 18% chance to win the NHL Draft Lottery is represented by 180 of the 1,001 possible combinations, the team with a 12.1% chance is assigned 121 combinations, and so forth). One combination has been designated as a "re-draw," allowing for the division of exactly 1,000 combinations proportionately.

All number combinations are assigned to teams at random by Bortz & Company, and the number-drawing process is supervised by accounting firm Ernst & Young (not PricewaterhouseCoopers, who blew it at the 2017 Oscars!).