The 2021 NHL Draft Lottery Preview

Sabres go into tonight with the best odds at the first overall pick

For the first time since 2017, there isn’t going to be an overwhelming consensus #1 pick in the NHL Draft. While Owen Power is the favorite to go to whoever wins the draft lottery tonight: it is far from a guarantee that he ends up being the first player selected. The top of the 2021 draft looks more and more to be about a preference pick rather than a player who, regardless of position, is the clear talent to be selected.

For those of you just hopping into draft season with the lottery tonight let’s break down what’s going on.

When: Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021 at 7pm on NBCSN (updated)

Leave it to the NHL where if you look at the NBCSN and NHL Network upcoming schedules and neither have the lottery listed as a stand alone.

2021 Draft Lottery Rule Changes

You may have heard that the NHL has reimagined how the draft lottery will happen, but almost all of those changes will begin in 2022. The only change that impacts the Sabres is that the the lottery will be for the top two selections in the draft and not the top three. All other changes (including the number of times you can win the lottery in a given timeframe) don’t go into effect until the 2022 draft.

What are Buffalo’s chances to win the lottery?

Buffalo has a 16.6% chance to pick first, a 15% to pick second, and a 68.4% chance to pick third according to Tankathon’s lottery odds calculator.

What do you want to happen, Austin?

I never thought you’d ask.

If you’re an Owen Power or Matthew Beniers fan (I fall in the latter category) I think you should be rooting for us to win the lottery. I think it’s a two-horse race between Owen Power and Matthew Beniers for the first pick, and depending on the center depth of the team that wins the lottery you could see Beniers overtake Power for the first overall selection.

For the Sabres, if we don’t end up winning the lottery all is not lost. There is a wide range of players available that I have all very similarly rated that would be available. The ever-popular “let’s trade down a few picks” could be the viable option if draft day comes and Beniers is off the board assuming a pending Eichel trade. Whether that’s a defensemen like Luke Hughes, Brandt Clarke, or Simon Edvinsson; a winger like Dylan Guenther or William Eklund, or to chasing elite goaltending in Jesper Wallstedt: the Sabres will have a lot of options if we end up with third overall pick.

Personally, I want to win one of the two lottery spots. I covet Beniers as an ideal building block to the eventual rebuild of our center depth if/when Eichel and/or Reinhart are traded.

In the Twitterverse there seems to be a divide among what Sabres fans are hoping for. There’s a coalition of fans that think we should lose the lottery to avoid taking Owen Power (as he’s become a bit of a polarizing prospect) while others are hoping to land in the top two with the hopes the Sabres take their preferred player (almost uniformly Power or Beniers).

What are you hoping for?

Are you hoping the Sabres win the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery?

Yes! Give me Power or Beniers372
No. I don’t want to draft Power.115