Sabres win No. 1 pick, expansion Kraken No. 2 in NHL draft lottery

The Buffalo Sabres will select first overall in the 2021 NHL draft after the ping pong ball bounced their way in Wednesday’s draft lottery.

The expansion Seattle Kraken, who will begin play in 2021-22, landed the No. 2 overall pick.

Under this year’s rules, all other draft positions for non-playoff teams were determined by regular-season record. This means the Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils and Columbus Blue Jackets round out the top five.

Buffalo finished in the NHL’s cellar in 2020-21 with a 15-34-7 record (37 points), giving them the greatest odds to land the No. 1 pick at 16.6 percent.

It marks the Sabres’ second time picking first overall in four years. They made defenseman Rasmus Dahlin the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft. Their roster also includes a pair of No. 2 overall selections, centers Jack Eichel (2015) and Sam Reinhart (2014).

University of Michigan defenseman Owen Power is considered the top prospect available in this year’s draft, which will be held July 23-24. Power is the No. 1-rated North American draft prospect in NHL Central Scouting’s current rankings.

NHL draft lottery results:

1. Buffalo Sabres

2. Seattle Kraken

3. Anaheim Ducks

4. New Jersey Devils

5. Columbus Blue Jackets

6. Detroit Red Wings

7. San Jose Sharks

8. Los Angeles Kings

9. Vancouver Canucks

10. Ottawa Senators

11. Chicago Blackhawks

12. Calgary Flames

13. Philadelphia Flyers

14. Dallas Stars

15. New York Rangers