BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Buffalo Sabres will have the 13th overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft in June, it was revealed in the NHL Draft Lottery on Monday night.

This will be the first time since 2012 that Buffalo’s initial pick will be outside of the top 10. The Sabres had the franchise’s best season in recent memory this season, finishing 42-33-7 and one point out of a playoff spot.

The Chicago Blackhawks were awarded the No. 1 pick and will have a fairly easy decision to make: the top prospect in 2023 is Canadian forward Connor Bedard, who has been hailed as the greatest NHL prospect since Connor McDavid in 2015.

The Sabres have had the No. 13 pick six times in franchise history, most recently in 2009, when the team picked Zack Kassian.

What is the draft order?

The first 16 picks were revealed on Monday.

  1. Chicago Blackhawks
  2. Anaheim Ducks
  3. Columbus Blue Jackets
  4. San Jose Sharks
  5. Montreal Canadiens
  6. Arizona Coyotes
  7. Philadelphia Flyers
  8. Washington Capitals
  9. Detroit Red Wings
  10. St. Louis Blues
  11. Vancouver Canucks
  12. Arizona Coyotes
  13. Buffalo Sabres
  14. Pittsburgh Penguins
  15. Nashville Predators
  16. Calgary Flames

How does the NHL Draft Lottery work?

The lottery is conducted through a set of 14 ping pong balls with varying numbers being placed into a lottery machine. This allows for 1,001 different combinations when a random set of four balls are selected. The worse a team finished in the NHL standings, the more four-number combinations they are assigned, hence teams’ higher or lower percentages for the top pick.

Two drawings will take place based on each team’s assigned combinations. The drawing that will determine the top pick happens first. Technically, all 16 teams involved in the lottery can win the No. 1 pick, but due to the new rule of teams being able to jump a maximum of 10 spots from their final standing place, if one of the bottom fives teams were to win it, the Ducks would receive the top pick since they finished last in the standings. This is why Anaheim’s percentage is significantly higher than other teams.

Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.

Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.