Buffalo secures top pick in draft

Pontus Aberg Jacob Markstrom

The Buffalo Sabres finally won something on the heels of a season in which they endured mostly losing.

The St. Louis Blues did not win the draft lottery Saturday night, which means the Flyers will have two selections during the first round June 22 in Dallas.

"We're absolutely ecstatic", Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said before noting the splashes the Buffalo Bills made in the first round of the National Football League draft on Thursday.

"It was nerve-wrecking at the very end", Botterill said. "We're bringing in a No. 1 overall talent to this group".

The order of the first three picks from the NHL Draft Lottery will be announced during the second intermission of Saturday night's playoff game between the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights, which was slated to start at 8 p.m. (CBC, SN, NBC, TVA Sports).

The Sabres overcame their past disappointments the last two times they finished last and settled for the No. 2 pick in both 2014 and 2015. They selected Sam Reinhart and then Jack Eichel in back-to-back years. "But there always is that excitement and that attitude, the No. 1".

The Montreal Canadiens need offence and the third pick should be Filip Zadina of the Halifax Mooseheads. The Ottawa Senators and Arizona Coyotes round out the top five picks.

The Sabres proceeded to finish 25-45-12 and ranked last in numerous offensive categories.

So the lottery could have gone better for the Wings but it definitely could have gone worse.

The Ottawa Senators were the biggest losers after entering the lottery with the second best odds, behind only the Buffalo Sabres, with a 13.5 per cent chance to win the top selection, but dropped to fourth overall.

Hurricanes president Don Waddell already anticipates Buffalo selecting Dahlin. "We've got our meetings coming up". There is an agreement in place for Peter Karmanos Jr.to sell a majority stake of the team to Tom Dundon.

Carolina is searching for a general manager after Ron Francis was reassigned to another front-office position last season. "We're disappointed not to get a lottery pick, but it's a good draft".

Dahlin has the chance of becoming just the second Swedish-born player to be taken first after the Quebec Nordiques chose Mats Sundin with the No. 1 pick in 1989.

Scouting bureau director Dan Marr regards Dahlin as "the clear-cut No. 1, pro-ready prospect".

Dahlin, who plays in the Swedish Elite League, was named best defenseman at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.

The next step for the prospects will be attending the pre-draft combine in Buffalo from May 27 to June 2.

The Flyers also received Jori Lehtera and the Blues' first-round pick previous year in the Schenn trade.

The New York Rangers moved down from the No. 8 selection to No. 9 while the New York Islanders, the owner of two first-round picks after acquiring a first rounder from Calgary in exchange for Travis Hamonic a year ago, will pick 11th and 12th.

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