Buffalo wins lottery, will pick No. 1 for first time since 1987

The Buffalo Sabres won the NHL draft lottery Saturday night, earning the opportunity to draft potential franchise defenseman Rasmus Dahlin.

"We're really looking forward to adding a great player to the team," general manager Jason Botterill said.

The Sabres haven't selected first overall since drafting center Pierre Turgeon in 1987. Previously, they had selected star forward Gilbert Perreault first in 1970.

The NHL had a new format for the lottery this season, announcing the first 12 picks prior to the Vegas Golden Knights-San Jose Sharks Stanley Cup playoff game Saturday night, and then announcing the order of the top three picks during the second intermission, after 10 p.m. ET.

The Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes (No. 2) and Montreal Canadiens (No. 3) advanced to the second part of the lottery announcement. The Sabres had the best odds to secure the No. 1 pick at 18.5 percent. Montreal had a 9.5 percent chance of winning, and moved up from No. 4. Carolina had a 3.0 percent chance of winning, and moved all the way up from the 11th-best odds. They both leaped over the Ottawa Senators (13.5 percent) and Arizona Coyotes (11.5 percent).

After having dynamic forwards like Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews go first overall in recent years, Dahlin promises to be a franchise-altering player on the back end. The 18-year-old Swede's mobility and all-around game have earned him comparisons to Detroit Red Wings legend Nicklas Lidstrom. He's played professionally in Sweden for the past two seasons.

"I'm trying to be a two-way defenseman with more of an offensive game. I like to make good passes and skate well. I'm trying to work very much on my shot, as well as [build] my strength and my weight," Dahlin said during the lottery.

Other top prospects are right wing Andrei Svechnikov of Barrie in the Ontario Hockey League; forward Filip Zadina of OHL Halifax; forward Brady Tkachuk of Boston University; and winger Oliver Wahlstrom of the U.S. National Development Team.

The New York Islanders have back-to-back picks at Nos. 11 and 12, the latter selection having been acquired from the Calgary Flames in a June 2017 trade for defenseman Travis Hamonic. The Philadelphia Flyers will select at No. 14 via a conditional pick acquired from the St. Louis Blues in June 2017. The Blues would have kept the pick if it was within the top 10.

Below is the order for the first 15 teams in the 2018 NHL draft, scheduled for June 22-23 in Dallas. Picks 16 through 27 will be determined after the second round of the playoffs, then picks 28 through 31 will be assigned to the four teams remaining.

1 -- Buffalo Sabres

2 -- Carolina Hurricanes

3 -- Montreal Canadiens

4 -- Ottawa Senators

5 -- Arizona Coyotes

6 -- Detroit Red Wings

7 -- Vancouver Canucks

8 -- Chicago Blackhawks

9 -- New York Rangers

10 -- Edmonton Oilers

11 -- New York Islanders (acquired via trade from the Calgary Flames)

12 -- New York Islanders

13 - Dallas Stars

14 -- Philadelphia Flyers (acquired via trade with the St. Louis Blues)

15 -- Florida Panthers