We share our thoughts from an eventful NHL Draft Lottery on Friday night, with the Buffalo Sabres almost predictably dropping a spot in the 2020 entry draft order.
It’s fair to say the Buffalo Sabres and the rest of the NHL were involved in an eventful Draft Lottery on Friday night. Essentially, the result of the Draft Lottery is that we still don’t know which team will pick first overall.
Due to how the NHL decided to set up this year’s event there will now have to be a second phase to determine the team who will select first, which will take place between the play-in round and the start of the playoffs. Let’s get to our three takeaways from what transpired, starting with the Sabres:
3) Buffalo Sabres’ 2019-20 season summed up with a taunt
On Thursday, we wrote about how desperate the Sabres were to find some positivity in the Draft Lottery. After all, this is a franchise which is currently enduring a nightmare where nothing seems to go right for them.
Of course with odds of 6.5 percent, no one truly believed the Sabres would somehow steal the first overall pick or indeed one of the top three spots in general. However, in typical Buffalo professional sports fashion, they also managed to fall a spot and will now select eighth overall in the 2020 entry draft.
We appreciate that statistically there was a better than 50 percent chance of a team still in the running for the Stanley Cup moving ahead of Buffalo in the draft order. This isn’t going to provide any solace whatsoever for fans.
In fact, you could argue that moving down to eight spot in the draft is in someway taunting the Sabres. Consider that if they had finished in this place in the league standings, i.e. 24th, they would have been preparing to return to action in the play-in round and with a chance to break the longest active playoff drought in the NHL.
The Sabres have some familiarity with picking eighth in the draft, with Rasmus Ristolainen, Alexander Nylander and Casey Mittelstadt all being selected eighth overall by the team. However, there is speculation Ristolainen will be traded, Nylader is no longer with the team and Mittelstadt has yet to fulfill his potential.
In this respect, you could make an argument that maybe the Sabres might be better off trading their pick for some immediate help. The team needs to maximize their window for becoming a contender, while they still have top-level talent such as Jack Eichel and Rasmus Dahlin.