Tuesday night the NHL will reveal the winner of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft Lottery, and we know the Buffalo Sabres are in position to pick either #1 or #2. How much of a drop off is there in that one spot? We've already 51 losses this season, 61 if you count overtime and shootouts. How bad is one more?
Howdy Sabres fans, it’s great to be here. No really, I mean that. I’ve been openly rooting for the Sabres to get to this spot for at least three seasons. The issue of rooting against your team is always a touchy one, but I made my peace with it. I didn’t necessarily want the Sabres to lose, but I did want them right here. The losing was a necessary sacrifice.
So now what?
The Sabres are more than likely going to pick #2. Accept it. Make peace with it. There’s a 75% chance that someone else wins the lottery and the Sabres are slotted at #2. Last year Florida had the worst record in the league, but they were leap-frogged by the Avalanche, so the Panthers had to settle for every player not named Nathan MacKinnon. They went with Alexander Barkov and I’m sure they’re quite pleased with it.
So let’s all just prepare for a loss in the lottery because that’s what all of this was about. Every team has a chance to win it. The Sabres had a chance to win it last year, and they didn’t.
If last year's team had won the lottery and selected Nathan MacKinnon, the franchise's course would have been entirely different. However, when you've got the 8th best odds, and losing means you're picking either 8th or 9th, you're not going to get that player that everyone wants at the top. You may not like the losing and the embracing of the tank, but it's specifically for those of us that plan on LOSING the lottery.
Who’s going to win the lottery? I don’t know....probably someone else.
Who’s going to finish second? The Sabres, in every single scenario in which they don't pick first.
They’ll probably lose the draft lottery. Previous losers have really taken their lumps over the years. Consider the fates of these teams that were stuck with these awful players.
2011 - Gabriel Landeskog
2010 - Tyler Seguin
2009 - Victor Hedman
2008 - Drew Doughty
2007 - James Van Riemsdyk
2006 - Jordan Staal
2005 - Bobby Ryan
2004 - Evgeni Malkin
2003 - Eric Staal
2002 - Kari Lehtonen
2001 - Jason Spezza
2000 - Dany Heatley
1999 - Daniel Sedin
Oh yeah, and these guys too:
Patrick Marleau (1997 – San Jose)
Chris Pronger (1993 – Hartford)
Trevor Linden (1988 – Vancouver)
Brendan Shanahan (1987 – New Jersey)
The Sabres are probably going to lose tomorrow night. Trust me…it’s OK. A loss in the lottery gives the Sabres their highest draft pick since 1987. If a team in the top four wins and jumps Buffalo, then the Sabres would pick #2 and possibly #5. That would mean that they'd have more first round picks in the top 5 in this ONE year, than they've had the previous 27. Yeah...I'm pumped for this. I've got just what I wanted out of the hockey team and tomorrow night is house money.
Sing it out loud - “We’re Number Two!” “We’re Number Two!”
Now...if they win...