Most deserving team, Sabres win NHL Lottery

Finally, logic prevailed. I know I wasn’t alone in thinking it was gonna happen again. Especially when Carolina moved all the way up into the top three along with the Montreal.

When NHL Deputy Commish Bill Daly revealed picks three and one, the most deserving team won the NHL Lottery. The Buffalo Sabres will pick first overall in this June’s NHL Entry Draft.

The team with the best odds after finishing with the fewest points at 31st overall will indeed get to select top ranked Swedish prospect Rasmus Dahlin in June. It is a huge jolt for the Sabres who have been one of the league’s worst teams for a while. Even landing second overall pick Jack Eichel hadn’t changed that.

Now, they’ll land the impact number one defenseman who can make a huge difference. The smooth skating Dahlin is a two-way player who plays well defensively and is able to generate offense with his shot along with terrific skating in transition. He’s the kind of blue liner who will change the way Buffalo plays.

Now, Rasmus Ristolainen can be a number two defenseman which is exactly what he is. That he’ll likely get to play with his fellow countryman is a good thing. The Sabres have officially cornered the market on Rasmus’s from Sweden 🇸🇪 who play defense. 😂

Once Daly revealed that the Canadiens had only moved up one spot from four to three, it seemed obvious that Buffalo would finally win something. They’ve picked first overall twice in franchise history with Pierre Turgeon going number one overall in 1987 and hockey legend Gilbert Perreault the first ever Sabre selected in the 1970 Amateur Draft.

For Buffalo, they’ll have a few building blocks now in franchise players Eichel and Dahlin, who undoubtedly will become a Buffalo Sabre on June 22 at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Featuring recent first round pick Casey Mittlestadt along with Sam Reinhart, Buffalo should be vastly improved. A lot also depends on what GM Jason Botterill decides to do with the goalie position. With former starter Robin Lehner likely not returning following some disappointing results, they only have Linus Ullmark on the roster. He’s 24. With plenty of cap room, they’ll be in the market for a new starter.

It should be interesting to see what they do. As for the Rangers, I don’t know what they’re planning. They could lose a first round pick if Tampa loses to Boston. I don’t care. It would still be a low pick. They’ll have at least two.

Here is the NHL Draft order from 15 to 1:

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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