BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Seattle Mariners clinched a wild-card spot Friday and ended the longest postseason drought in major American professional sports. That means the Sabres NHL-record run of 11 season without making the playoffs is now tied for second.
The Mariners ended their drought at 20 seasons, making the playoffs for the first time since 2001 — the year they set the major-league record for wins with 116. Their drought was three seasons longer than the Bills’ marathon playoff drought, which ended in 2017 after 17 seasons.
The Sabres haven’t made the playoffs since the 2010-11 season, when Jeff Skinner won the Calder Trophy as the league’s Rookie of the Year and Chris Osgood was still in the league. Prior to the current drought, the longest the Sabres had ever gone without making the playoffs was three seasons.
With the Mariners headed to the playoffs, the NBA’s Sacremento Kings take over as the team with the longest playoff drought in the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL. They haven’t made the playoffs in 16 seasons.
Longest active playoff droughts
- 16 — Sacramento Kings (NBA)
- 11 — Buffalo Sabres (NHL), New York Jets (NFL)
- 10 — Philadelphia Phillies (MLB)
The Phillies are also on the verge of ending their postseason drought, but will need to hold off the Brewers for the final NL wild-card spot.
Meanwhile, the Sabres are now tied for second with the NFL’s New York Jets, who appear on their way to a 12th season missing the playoffs. They have a 1-2 record with a -29 point differential, second-worst in the league.
Signs are pointing up for the Sabres, though they still have a long way to go. FanDuel’s betting odds still rank them among the worst teams in the Eastern Conference, with only Montreal facing longer odds to win the conference (+7500). The Sabres, Flyers and Blue Jackets are tied for the second-longest odds at +4000.
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Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook and Twitter and find more of his work here.