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Source: NHL plans to make two changes to draft lottery, including increasing number of picks determined by lottery process

By John Vogl

PHILADELPHIA -- The NHL is ready to implement a pair of changes to its Draft Lottery, which obviously has a big impact on the future of the Sabres.

The league, according to a Buffalo News source with knowledge of the situation, would like to:

1) Increase the number of selections determined by the lottery system.

2) Give all 14 non-playoff teams a more even chance of winning the first overall pick.

The NHL board of governors approved the changes today, but the league's player association will have a chance to weigh in.

Under the present system, the lottery is used to determine only the No. 1 overall pick. The rest of the first round goes in reverse order of finish, so the 30th-place team is guaranteed to pick no worse than second.

That could change as soon as the 2016 Draft. While it's not yet clear how many spots will be determined by a lottery, previous reports suggested the top five selections could be up for grabs. Under that scenario, the team that finishes 30th could pick as low as No. 6.

Buffalo finished last this year, lost the lottery and will pick second Friday in Wells Fargo Center. The Sabres figure to be near the bottom again next year and have an oft-stated plan to rebuild the franchise by selecting at the top of the draft.

The other change to the lottery process, according to the source, would narrow the odds between the 30th- and 17th-place clubs. At present, the chances of winning the Draft Lottery are as follows:

30th place: 25 percent

29th: 18.8 percent

28th: 14.2 percent

27th: 10.7 percent

26th: 8.1 percent

25th: 6.2 percent

24th: 4.7 percent

23rd: 3.6 percent

22nd: 2.7 percent

21st: 2.1 percent

20th: 1.5 percent

19th: 1.1 percent

18th: 0.8 percent

17th: 0.5 percent

While the proposed new odds were unavailable, they will be compressed and lessen the gap between the last-place club and the 17th-place team as soon as next year, when franchise Connor McDavid is available.

The changes would discourage "tanking."


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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |