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Sabres to host McDavid-led Erie Otters game at FNC; NHL finalizes draft lottery rules, with worst team dropping no lower than No. 2 in 2015


So whether it's Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, it now appears both of the generational centers slated to be picked atop the 2015 NHL Draft will be playing at First Niagara Center this season in advance of the draft.

And if the Sabres finish last in the NHL again next season, the league has just announced Buffalo is pretty much guaranteed to get one of the franchise cornerstone players.

The Sabres have called a joint press conference for Thursday afternoon with the Ontario Hockey League's Erie Otters to discuss plans for an upcoming game featuring McDavid's team in downtown Buffalo.

Sabres president Ted Black and Otters general manager/managing partner Sherwood "Sherry" Bassin, a longtime fixture in Canadian junior hockey circles, will be making the announcement. (4:45 p.m. update: I've confirmed an Erie Times-News report that McDavid will attend the press conference along with new Otters assistant coach and former Sabres defenseman Jay McKee.)

Eichel, who is expected to play one season for Boston University, is slated to play here Sept. 25 in USA Hockey's All-America Prospects Game.

McDavid and Eichel have long been expected to be the top two picks in the draft June 26 in Sunrise, Fla. After finishing 30th overall last season, the Sabres had a 25 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick but did not win the lottery and the Florida Panthers got the pick. Under the new rules that GM Tim Murray said were discussed during this year's draft in Philadelphia, the worst team will have a 20 percent chance -- but is still guaranteed to only fall to the No. 2 pick.

So if the Sabres finish last and don't win the lottery, they drop to No. 2 and ostensibly would then take Eichel.

The odds of earning the top pick have been completely revised for all non-playoff teams starting in 2015 and the Sabres will certainly pay close attention to other spots if the New York Islanders, whose pick is owned by Buffalo, land in the lottery as well.

Starting in 2016, the lottery will be used to assign the top three spots in the draft instead of simply No. 1. As a result, the worst team will no longer be guaranteed the No. 2 pick but could slip to as low as No. 4 in the draft.

Here's a look at the odds, courtesy of


  • ExpectResults

    So, Connor McDavid how will you like hot, steamy Florida? Maybe Terry will make an offer to buy his contact? At this point, I think almost anything is possible with Pegula's money. (I know...I know...) Just dreaming.

  • Jeff in Chicago

    i know i'm not the only one dreaming of the Sabres picking twice in the top five next June. anyone doubting that they will be in great position for a possible decade of contention are chicken little nay-sayers. i think the Islanders pick may even be higher than Buffalo's this year.

    • Ken Elder

      I think the Islanders pick will be much lower than this year. They've upgraded their team a lot, especially in goal and if Tavares stays healthy for the entire year, I can't imagine them being in the bottom 5. Of course, I'd LOVE it that happened. lol.

  • goggles pisano

    A one time loan, I want my full last season of Connor.

  • billsox82

    I can't pretend to know much about these prospects other than what I see when I go to Youtube, but I do like the idea of snagging a few studs in consecutive years to get things turned around.

    The Sabres are doing now what the Bills should have done long ago. They're embracing tanking and stockpiling picks and prospects. The Bills never wanted to take the plunge and always tried to keep their head above water and resulted in a bunch of 7-9 and 6-10 seasons. Guess where most of the franchise QBs go? Often higher than where those records get you.

    • billsox82

      Kind of like taking off a band it off quick and it's done...equivalent to a couple years of tanking with the Sabres. Slowly take it off and stopping and starting equals being more painful and drawn out...equivalent to the Bills last decade and a half.

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