Sabres win 2021 NHL Draft Lottery, Kraken move up to No. 2 selection

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SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY - JUNE 02: : National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly announces the Buffalo Sabres #1 overall draft position during the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery on June 02, 2021 at the NHL Network's studio in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY - JUNE 02: : National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly announces the Buffalo Sabres #1 overall draft position during the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery on June 02, 2021 at the NHL Network's studio in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Buffalo Sabres won the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery on Wednesday night, providing some solace for fans after one of the most miserable seasons of the modern era. 

Buffalo entered the lottery with a 16.6 percent chance of securing the first overall pick, the best odds of any team. The only other notable move came from the expansion Seattle Kraken, who moved up from No. 3 to No. 2, surpassing the Anaheim Ducks in the process. 

Unlike most years, the fanfare of the draft lottery died down this year in part due to two reasons: the first being that due to restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the absence of consistent in-player evaluations made it difficult to keep up with the rigours of the usual pre-draft machine. The second reason, more pointedly, is that for the first time since Nico Hischier went first overall in 2017, there is an absence of a galvanizing, instant impact talent atop the board.

With no intention to needlessly criticize the 2021 class, many are awaiting the 2022 draft, where Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs will emerge as the best prospect since Auston Matthews, while the way-too-early glimpse on 2023 suggests that the Matvei Michkov-Connor Bedard battle will be worth tanking for. 

Owen Power, a defenseman from the University of Michigan, is widely considered to be the most likely choice for the Sabres, but it isn't a true consensus. His teammates Matthew Beniers and Luke Hughes — the younger brother of Jack and Quinn — along with Brandt Clarke of the Barrie Colts and Dylan Guenther of the Edmonton Oil Kings all could challenge for the No. 1 spot. 

Here is the order of the top 15 picks: 

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

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