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Lottery Odds: Sabres heading towards top odds in the draft lottery

Not much has gone right for the Sabres this season, but, if nothing else, it appears Buffalo is on its way to top odds in the draft lottery, and the last-place team will have an increased chance of landing the first pick.

In almost one month’s time, Rasmus Dahlin is going to have an idea of where he’s heading next season.

Earlier this week, the NHL announced the draft lottery to decide which team will have the first-overall selection at the 2018 draft will take place on April 28 in Toronto, and after having an 18 percent chance of the top selection in 2017, the last-place team will see its odds increase by half a percent. More importantly, though, the team in 30th will finish with a 13.5 percent chance and the 29th-place team will end up with an 11.5 percent shot at the top choice. The full odds, in order of last-place to the top non-playoff team, are listed below, via

1. 18.5 percent

2. 13.5 percent

3. 11.5 percent

4. 9.5 percent

5. 8.5 percent

6. 7.5 percent

7. 6.5 percent

8. 6.0 percent

9. 5.0 percent

10. 3.5 percent

11. 3.0 percent

12. 2.5 percent

13. 2.0 percent

14. 1.5 percent

15. 1.0 percent

Buffalo Sabres

24-41-12 — 60 pts.

Five games remaining and three on the road against legitimate Stanley Cup contenders including the Predators, Maple Leafs and Lightning. The Sabres are also going to finish their season on the road against the Panthers, who could very well be in a playoff position by the last night of the campaign. There’s a fair chance Buffalo ends the season on a five-game skid, but at least they have the best chance at landing the top pick.

Remaining Schedule: Five games

Projected Points: 64 points

Arizona Coyotes

27-40-11 — 65 pts.

If points post-elimination was part of the criteria for the first-overall selection, the Coyotes would have done themselves all sorts of favors with their performance over the past two months. Unfortunately, it’s not. Thus, Arizona’s winning ways have only ensured they’re not a lock for the top odds. The Coyotes are deserving of some good luck, though.

Remaining Schedule: Four games

Projected Points: 69 points

Ottawa Senators

27-39-11 — 65 pts.

Four road games and three contests against legitimate Stanley Cup contenders make it all but certain that Ottawa is going to finish with top-five odds, at the very least. Chances are, though, that games against Winnipeg, Pittsburgh and Boston are going to result in a bottom-three finish and a serious chance at adding Dahlin come June.

Remaining Schedule: Five games

Projected Points: 70 points

Vancouver Canucks

29-40-9 — 67 pts.

After dropping seven in a row, the Canucks have rattled off three straight victories, are winners of four of their past five and, based on points, have the third-easiest schedule of those in the hunt for the first-overall pick. Based on their opponents’ points percentages, Vancouver is only projected to pick up four more points, but ending the season against Arizona and Edmonton could set the table for four points.

Remaining Schedule: Four games

Projected Points: 71 points

Detroit Red Wings

29-38-11 — 69 pts.

Consecutive wins — first against the Penguins and then against the Sabres — have given the Red Wings a minor boost heading towards the end of the campaign and Detroit’s schedule is the easiest of any team in the hunt for the top lottery pick. Only one remaining game is against a playoff-calibre team.

Remaining Schedule: Four games

Projected Points: 73 points

Montreal Canadiens

28-37-12 — 68 pts.

The Canadiens have lost 10 games in March but are winners of two of their past three heading into Saturday’s action. That might not mean much, though, given four of their final five games are against playoff teams. The only game Montreal might go into with winning odds is their penultimate game against Detroit, and even that might be a stretch.

Remaining Schedule: Five games

Projected Points: 73 points

Chicago Blackhawks

32-36-10 — 74 pts.

Of all the teams in the hunt for the top pick, there may be no other club with as much potential to lose their way into better odds. The Blackhawks’ remaining games include a back-to-back with the Blues, who need every point they can get in the wild-card race, and a contest against the Jets, who could be chasing points as they hunt for top spot in the Central.

Remaining Schedule: Three games

Projected Points: 76 points

Edmonton Oilers

34-38-6 — 74 pts.

Connor McDavid has done everything right in the second half of the season, but his offensive outburst in the second half of the season stands to chip away at Edmonton’s lottery odds. Games against the Flames, Wild, Golden Knights and Canucks stand to help McDavid’s chances of winning the Art Ross. They’re not going to help the Oilers’ chances of landing the top pick.

Remaining Schedule: Four games

Projected Points: 78 points

New York Islanders

32-35-10 — 74 pts.

The Islanders likely can’t wait for this campaign, which has been disastrous since the start of the second half, to come to an end. At this point, though, it’s in New York’s best interest to drop a few points if they want to improve their lottery odds. Only three remaining contests are against playoff or bubble teams, however, so a couple wins could see the Isles end up around 10th in the odds. That said, New York has two chances at top spot as they own Calgary’s first-round pick.

Remaining Schedule: Four games

Projected Points: 78 points

New York Rangers

33-35-9 — 75 pts.

Rangers fans, if you’re hoping for improved odds and for a finish worse than the current projection, you might be in luck. Friday’s game against the Lightning was the final home contest of the season for New York, and now they’ll hit the road for contests against the Hurricanes, Devils, Islanders and Flyers. That could be the perfect recipe for a slide down the standings.

Remaining Schedule: Four games

Projected Points: 79 points

Calgary Flames

35-33-10 — 80 pts.

Contests against the Oilers and Coyotes could make for two victories, but Calgary is going to end the season with outings against the Jets and Golden Knights. Picking up more than four points seems unlikely, particularly for a club that has dropped seven straight as they head into the tail-end of their schedule.

Remaining Schedule: Four games

Projected Points: 84 points

Carolina Hurricanes

34-32-11 — 79 pts.

An expected rise up the standings didn’t come to fruition in Carolina and the Hurricanes are in familiar territory. Unfortunately, another lost won’t be coming along with better lottery odds. A rough projection has Carolina finishing just outside of the post-season, and that’s going to make their chances of landing one of the top-three selections slim. 

Remaining Schedule: Four games

Projected Points: 84 points



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