2021 NHL Draft Lottery: Sabres Land No. 1 Pick, Full Selection Order

Blake SchusterContributor IJune 2, 2021

SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 10: The case containing lottery balls are seen during Phase 2 of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery on A ugust 10, 2020 at the NHL Network's studio in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images

The Buffalo Sabres have won the NHL's 2021 draft lottery and will have the opportunity to pick No. 1 overall when the entry draft rolls around this summer.

It's the first time Buffalo has picked No. 1 since taking Rasmus Dahlin in 2018.


The first overall pick in the #NHLDraft Lottery goes to...<br><br>The @BuffaloSabres! pic.twitter.com/vJEFceyAWa

Here's a look at the top half of the draft board following Wednesday's drawing.

2021 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

The Buffalo Sabres entered Wednesday with the best odds of winning the lottery at 16.6 percent with the Anaheim Ducks right behind them at 12.1 percent, per NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale. Both the New Jersey Devils and the expansion Seattle Kraken—who are drafting for the first time—held a 10.3 percent chance of winning.

Seattle could drop no lower than the fifth overall pick regardless of how the lottery played out.

The league altered this year's lottery process to better protect teams with worse records from falling further in the draft order. Here's how the revised process looks, per Morreale:

"The NHL announced March 23 that two drawings will be held, to determine the top two picks in the draft. Since 2016, the first three selections had been determined by the lottery. The change was made to reduce the likelihood of the team with the worst record dropping in the draft order. That means the Sabres will pick no worse than No. 3 in the 2021 draft."

The Arizona Coyotes were still included in the drawing, despite forfeiting their first-round pick following an NHL investigation into violations of the league's combine testing policy in 2019-20. Had the Coyotes won the lottery, a redrawing would have occurred.

The 2021 entry draft should prove a fascinating few days for NHL clubs with no clear No. 1 prospect establishing themselves yet.

Defenseman Owen Power, left wing William Eklund and center Mason McTavish each have a strong case to be taken with the No. 1 pick, but without a consensus star on the board, Buffalo could look to trade down.

"The first round of this draft class is a strong class which includes a blend of elite forwards and defensemen, but the strength of this year's draft is likely with defense," Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr told Morreale. "While this position often requires significant development time and experience, this class has a talented mix of many types of defensemen available which will give many NHL clubs an opportunity to stock up at this position."