Sabres clinch top odds in 2018 NHL Draft Lottery

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Congratulations to the Buffalo Sabres! With Wednesday night’s 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators, Phil Housley’s gang has clinched the top odds for the 2018 NHL Draft Lottery, which will be held on April 28.

With two games remaining in their season, the Sabres are 31st in the league on 62 points and now have an 18.5 percent chance of earning the right to draft projected No. 1 pick Rasmus Dahlin, a defenseman from Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League. Via the NHL, the 2018 NHL Draft Lottery will consist of three drawings: the first Lottery Draw will determine the team selecting first overall, the second Lottery Draw will determine the team selecting second overall and the third Lottery Draw will determine the team selecting third overall.

The Sabres were guaranteed at least the second-best odds considering their record heading into the Ottawa game. This is the third time Buffalo had held the top odds for the lottery in five years and they’re hoping to finally come away with a win.

Here’s a look at just how rough the Sabres have had it this season:

  • Third-worst goals against average (3.29)
  • Worst goals per game average (2.35). Only NHL team under 200 goals scored (188)
  • Tied for 30th in shooting percentage (7.7 percent)
  • Worst in the NHL in regulation/overtime wins (24)
  • 31st in the NHL in even strength goals (114)
  • 34 losses when opposing team scores first

Dahlin’s addition would certainly help, but that roster needs major changes, which means a busy summer ahead for general manager Jason Botterill.

Here’s a look at the updated draft lottery standings:

1 – Sabres (18.5 percent), 62 points, 80 games, 24 ROW
2 – Senators (13.5), 67 points, 80 GP, 26 ROW
3 – Canadiens (11.5) 69 points, 80 GP, 26 ROW
4 – Coyotes (9.5), 69 points, 80 GP, 27 ROW
5 – Canucks (8.5), 70 points, 80 GP, 30 ROW
6 – Red Wings (7.5) 72 points, 80 GP, 25 ROW
7 – Oilers (6.5) 74 points, 80 GP, 30 ROW
8 – Islanders (6.0) 76 points, 80 GP, 30 ROW
9 – Blackhawks (5.0) 76 points, 80 GP, 32 ROW
10 – Rangers (3.5), 77 points, 80 GP, 31 ROW
11 – Hurricanes (3.0) 81 points, 80 GP, 32 ROW
12 – Flames (2.5) 82 points, 80 GP, 34 ROW (*Pick owned by NYI)
13 – Stars (2.0) 90 points, 80 GP, 37 ROW
14 – Panthers (1.5) 90 points, 79 GP, 38 ROW
15 – Blues (1.0) 92 points, 80 GP, 40 ROW

As Adam Gretz pointed out this afternoon, the previous two times Buffalo failed to win the lottery, they ended up with the No. 2 pick. Those selections were used on Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel after missing out on Aaron Ekblad and Connor McDavid.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.