This past Wednesday, the NHL broadcasted the annual NHL Draft Lottery. The fifteen teams that missed the playoffs and the expansion team, the Seattle Kraken, were eligible for the number one selection. Odds are broken down based on the team’s record this season. The Buffalo Sabres had the favoring odds for the best selection of 2021 and the projection held true. The draft order follows. Note that contending teams will make up teams 16-31. The Arizona Coyotes had to forfeit their selection following a previous incident in 2020.
- Buffalo Sabres
- Seattle Kraken
- Anaheim Ducks
- New Jersey Devils
- Columbus Blue Jackets
- Detroit Red Wings
- San Jose Sharks
- Los Angeles Kings
- Vancouver Canucks
- Ottawa Senators
- Chicago Blackhawks
- Calgary Flames
- Philadelphia Flyers
- Dallas Stars
- New York Rangers
Who Are The Sabres Options?
Although there is no clear consensus as in previous years, Owen Power seems to be the best member of this draft class by a slight edge. Powers has played at the collegiate level for the University of Michigan. He is a big defender who can stop plays before they become dangerous and has the skating to make breakouts happen to give his team chances to score. Power reminds many scouts of Victor Hedman who was drafted behind John Tavares in the 2009 entry-level draft.
Many fans, scouts, and general managers alike consider this a week class but Owen Power could be a gamechanger on whatever team drafts him. Regardless of how strong the draft class is the number one selection is always a dynamic player.
Additionally, Luke Hughes is going to be the third Hughes brother drafted in a short span of time. His brother Quinn Hughes had a phenomenal rookie campaign and like the rest of the Canucks struggled this year. Jack Hughes is developing in New Jersey and will be a huge factor when the Devils contend. Now, Luke is eligible for this draft, and while most fans do not think he is a true number one pick and can be immediately slotted into Buffalo’s weak defensive core.
Matthew Beniers, Dylan Guenther, and Kent Johnson round out my top five. If the Sabres are seeking a forward, one of these candidates will likely be the first selection by Buffalo.
Talent Doesn’t Always Carry Over Into Production In Buffalo
Buffalo’s last first overall selection was in 2018 and has not gone according to plan. In fifty-six games this season the defender, Rasmus Dahlin, scored five times and accumulated eighteen assists. So, the offensive production is nowhere to be seen for the best member of the 2018 draft class, but his defensive play has been poor as well. Although +/- is a team stat, Dahlin needs to be a more capable defenseman. A +/- of -36 is poor, in fact, it was an NHL worst.
Buffalo obviously needs to fix their player development because it isn’t common to see the first selection struggle to this degree. If they don’t, Power or whoever is selected by Buffalo will most likely struggle because Buffalo has become infamous for having failed player development. None of their draft selections besides Jack Eichel ever become the player that they were projected to be and veterans cannot even produce in Buffalo. The staff needs to be changed if they desire to win.