NHL Draft Lottery: Buffalo Sabres odds, how to watch & more

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The results of the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery will be revealed at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Here are 4 things to know about the Sabres’ latest entry into the annual sweepstakes.

What are the Sabres’ chances at the #1 pick?

Of the 16 teams that missed the playoffs, 10 had a worse record than the Sabres. That means Buffalo was given the 11th-highest lottery odds at 3%.

The most likely outcome is that the Sabres will stay put at 11th overall. But they could end up picking 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 11th, 12th or 13th, due to some recent changes in how the lottery process works.

Three years ago, the NHL changed the lottery procedure to limit the number of draft slots a team can move up. Now, it might be more helpful to think of the lottery as awarding a coupon to move up 10 draft slots, rather than automatically gifting the winner the first overall pick. So, if a team with the 13th-best odds wins the draw for the No. 1 pick, they will only move up to No. 3, and the team with the best odds (San Jose) will retain the top pick.

The only way the Sabres can win the first or second pick is by winning a drawing. There is also a rare scenario where they would get the third pick: If the Flyers, who have the 12th-best odds, win the first lottery, and the Sabres win the second drawing. In that instance, the Flyers could only move up 10 slots to No. 2, San Jose would lock into No. 1, and then the team winning the second drawing could only move up to No. 3.

Alternatively, if the Sabres don’t win the lottery but a team or teams with worse odds are selected, the Sabres could drop back to the 12th or 13th pick.

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The full lottery odds are below. The chances of winning the second drawing will change on a proportionate basis depending on which team wins the first drawing.

TeamOddsSan Jose Sharks18.5%Chicago Blackhawks13.5%Anaheim Ducks11.5%Columbus Blue Jackets9.5%Montreal Canadiens8.5%Utah7.5%Ottawa Senators6.5%Seattle Kraken6.0%Calgary Flames5.0%New Jersey Devils3.5%Buffalo Sabres3.0%Philadelphia Flyers2.5%Minnesota Wild2.0%Pittsburgh Penguins*1.5%Detroit Red Wings0.5%St. Louis Blues0.5%* Under the terms of an August 6, 2023 trade, Pittsburgh will transfer its 1st-round pick in either the 2024 or 2025 NHL Draft to San Jose. If Pittsburgh’s 2024 1st-round pick becomes a top 10 pick as a result of the Draft Lottery, Pittsburgh will have the option to transfer its 2025 1st-round pick to San Jose instead of its 2024 1st-round pick.

How can I watch the draft lottery?

The Draft Lottery will be shown on ESPN at 6:30 p.m. and available for streaming via ESPN. Canadian fans can watch via Sportsnet or TVA Sports. Results will be posted soon after on

Who is the top prospect in the draft?

Boston University forward Macklin Celebrini is the unanimous top prospect in the draft, and the Cele-bration will be on for the team that wins the top pick. As the youngest player in Division I hockey at 17 years old, Celebrini posted an even 32 goals and 32 assists in 38 games, surpassing Jack Eichel’s goal total in their lone seasons as Terriers. Both players won the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as college hockey’s top player.

After Celebrini, there is less consensus in the rankings. View rankings here from NHL Central Scouting and broadcasting legend Bob McKenzie.

How many times have the Sabres won the draft lottery?

The NHL has held a draft lottery since 1995, tweaking the process numerous times over the last three decades. In 2016, the league began awarding the top three picks via the lottery system, and in 2021 it dropped the number of selections down to two.

The Sabres have won the lottery twice: In 2018, when they selected Rasmus Dahlin first overall, and in 2021, when they grabbed Owen Power. In each instance, they entered the lottery with the best odds. The Sabres infamously lost the draft lottery in 2015, when Edmonton moved from third to first and skipped over Buffalo and Arizona to select Connor McDavid.

The league adopted a rule beginning in 2022 than no team can win the lottery more than twice in a five-year span. Lottery winners since that rule went into effect include Chicago (2023), Anaheim (2023), Montreal (2022) and New Jersey (2022).

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Bonus: Top prospects headed to Buffalo

The 2024 NHL Scouting Combine will once again be held in Buffalo this June.

The NHL Combine is similar to the NFL’s popular version, showcasing the top draft-eligible North American and international prospects. This year’s event will be held from June 2-8 at KeyBank Center and HarborCenter.

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Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as the Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook, Twitter and Threads. See more of his work here.

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