Published by hockeybuzz.com, 3-31-2017
If anyone needs to be reminded, the Buffalo Sabres are sitting rather comfortably at the bottom of the league with 60 points, which happens to be the third time in five years they've been in that position. The Nashville Predators are at the opposite end of the spectrum sitting atop the league with 111 points.
While Nashville was on a run last season that would eventually take them to the Stanley Cup Finals, the Buffalo Sabres were on a run to the nearest exit sign at the end of a very disappointing season. Sabres owner Terry Pegula would end up firing his general manager and head coach and start anew with a rookie GM in Tim Murray and a rookie head coach in Phil Housley. With only five games remaining in the season, the Sabres will not come close to matching last year's 78 point total on the season, although that might be looked at as a minimum goal next season.
Why did Housley come over to Buffalo to take on what turned out to be a mess of a hockey team when he could be behind the bench as an assistant on what many consider to he the Cup favorite?
Maybe he lost his mind.
For as bad as this team has been this year, with a microcosm of that coming in the last two periods of Thursday night's game, they've actually played some good hockey for spurts giving fans a little hope for the future. But they don't want the future to start before the end of the season, as this draft offers up a prize pick to the 'lucky' team that ends up winning the lottery, defenseman Rasmus Dahlin.
And boy could the Sabres use him.
The NHL released it's odds for winning the lottery and the right to draft Dahlin first-overall. They're as follows for the bottom-six teams:
The worst three teams actually saw their chances of winning the lottery increase over last year as these were the odds for 2017
In 2017 the 27th place New Jersey Devils took their 8.5% odds and jumped up to the top of the draft. With the top three draft slots up for grabs, the Philadelphia Flyers who finished 19th in the league wound up with the second-overall pick. And the 24th place Dallas Stars ended up picking third. The Colorado Avalanche, who finished in last place by a wide margin (21 points) ended up picking fourth-overall.
Everyone can spin the wheel and see which team ends up with the top pick by going to nhllotterysimulator.com.
Here's what I got today:
Casey Mittelstadt made his NHL debut for the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday against the Detroit Red Wings and got his first NHL point--an assist. The 19 yr. old skated well and showed of some deft stickwork and moves on none other than Henrik Zetterberg.
He also took a penalty which was actually a bench minor when he was whistled for a faceoff violation.
Goalie Robin Lehner suffered an injury in the Detroit game and is out. Linus Ullmark, who was on recall from the Rochester Americans is also out. That leaves Chad Johnson as the team's starter and they recalled Adam Wilcox from the Amerks as his backup.
There was an optional skate today so here's what the Sabres practiced with yesterday: