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2018 NHL Draft Lottery: How To Watch, Team Odds, Preview

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Can Buffalo finally get the elusive #1 pick?

NHL: NHL Draft Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Future Beckons

The Buffalo Sabres will find out tonight if they’ll be drafting first in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft to likely pick generational defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, or watching as another club wins the lottery yet again. The absolute worst case scenario for the Sabres would be to miss out on all three spots and drop to fourth, with the option to still draft a difference-making talent there as well.

What Are The Odds?

In a slightly different mathematical format to last year, the NHL has gone to a progressive probability system whereby the odds for teams not selected successively increase for the second and third picks.

Buffalo Sabres 18.5%
Ottawa Senators* 13.5%
Arizona Coyotes 11.5%
Montreal Canadiens 9.5%
Detroit Red Wings 8.5%
Vancouver Canucks 7.5%
Chicago Blackhawks 6.5%
New York Rangers 6.0%
Edmonton Oilers 5.0%
New York Islanders 3.5%
Carolina Hurricanes 3.0%
New York Islanders (from CGY) 2.5%
Dallas Stars 2.0%
St. Louis Blues^ 1.5%
Florida Panthers 1.0%

* Senators have the option to retain their pick and instead send the Avalanche their first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.
^ Blues have the option to retain their pick (if it’s in the top 10) and instead send the Flyers their first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft

For the Sabres specifically:

Best case of getting a top three pick will be 64.55%

[‘#1’ pick 185/1000] + [#2 pick (if 30th team gets #1 pick) 185/865] + [#3 pick (if 29th team gets #2 pick) 185/750] = 64.55%

Worst case of getting a top three pick will be 56.16%

[‘#1’ pick 185/1000] + [#2 pick (if 17th team gets #1 pick) 185/990] + [#3 pick (if 18th team gets #2 pick) 185/975] = 56.16%

How To Watch

Per the NHL, picks #4 to #15 will be announced during the “2018 NHL Draft Lottery Show” on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVAS).

The top three picks will then be revealed during the second intermission of Game 2 between the Vegas Golden Knights and the San Jose Sharks (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

This could end up being very deflating for Buffalo because if three teams from #5-#15 all end up in the top three, we’ll know right away that we’re picking fourth even before #4 is announced.

What Comes Next

While the playoffs continue there’ll be not much else going on, but Buffalo area fans will get a sneak-peek at the top 104 draft-eligible players from North America and Europe in person. The 2018 NHL Scouting Combine is being held at the KeyBank Center and HarborCenter in Buffalo from May 27 to June 2.

The Sabres will get to exercise their lottery pick at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft which will take place at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. The First Round will be held on Friday, June 22 with Rounds 2-7 on Saturday, June 23.


Once the Lottery is complete we’ll do a quick recap of who moved up, who moved down and who stayed put, and of course, where all of this leaves the Buffalo Sabres going into the Draft in a couple of months.

Join us in the comments below!