Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – The Montreal Canadiens were the worst team during the 2021-22 regular season, which gave them the best odds for to win the first overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery. They got the luck of the draw on Tuesday when their card was revealed with the No. 1 overall selection.
As for the Buffalo Sabres, they stayed in their spots, which was ninth and 16th overall. Buffalo acquired the 16th pick from the Vegas Golden Knights as part of the Jack Eichel trade.
This will mark the sixth time the Canadiens will have the first overall pick, and the first time since 1980 when they selected Doug Wickeheiser. The Habs' other first overall picks were Garry Monahan in 1963, Michel Plasse in 1968, Rejean Houle in 1969 and Guy Lafleur in 1971.
Recently, the Canadiens selected third overall in both the 2018 and 2012 NHL Draft. With those picks, they selected Jesperi Kotkaniemi (2018), who signed an offer sheet with the Carolina Hurricanes and recently signed a long-term extension, and Alex Galchenyuk (2012), who most would consider a bust.
This is only the second time the Sabres have had the ninth overall pick. In 1982, Buffalo had three picks in the first round and took forward Paul Cyr with the ninth overall selection. Cyr played 471 career NHL games, scoring 85 goals and 196 points with the Sabres, but never lived up to his billing.
Buffalo also took Hall-of-Famers Phil Housley sixth overall and Dave Andreychuk 16th overall to make up for missing on Cyr.
We know Buffalo is also drafting 16th overall in the upcoming draft. In addition to Andreychuk, Buffalo has used that pick to take Marty Biron in 1995, current Montreal Canadiens forward Joel Armia, who they traded away in the Evander Kane deal, and defenseman Nikita Zadorov in 2013, who is playing for the Calgary Flames and went to the Colorado Avalanche in the Ryan O’Reilly trade.
Buffalo will also get the Florida Panthers' first-round pick this year.
The New Jersey Devils won the other lottery pick, going from the fifth overall pick to the second overall selection.
The Devils have had a lot of high picks recently, taking Jack Hughes (2019) and captain Nico Hischier (2017) with the first overall pick, Luke Hughes (2021) and Adam Larsson (2011) - now with the Edmonton Oilers - with the fourth overall pick, Pavel Zacha (2015) sixth overall and Alexander Holtz (2020) seventh overall. Holtz is currently playing against the Rochester Americans in the Calder Cup Playoffs with the Utica Comets.
Back on April 16, Brian Koziol and I had general manager Kevyn Adams on our Sabres pregame show. Buffalo has four first-round picks and four-second round picks in the next two years, and I wondered if he’d use any of that for trade currency, especially to get a player like 26-year-old Alex Tuch, who is a top-six forward and already developed. His answer caught me by surprise.
“If you’re asking which way that I lean on that, I definitely would lean more towards that we need to be making the picks and building the pipeline up," Adams said. "These picks are critical for the future of the organization. When you take a long view, and I’m talking three, five, six years down the road, you’re going to need these players and these are critical pieces of our future. But in saying that, we have to do our work and be open-minded. If something makes sense, I always say, ‘Is it the right thing for the now and the lone-term?’”
The top-16 picks after the NHL Draft Lottery:
1.) Montreal Canadiens
2.) New Jersey Devils
3.) Arizona Coyotes
4.) Seattle Kraken
5.) Philadelphia Flyers
6.) Columbus Blue Jackets (from Chicago Blackhawks)
7.) Ottawa Senators
8.) Detroit Red Wings
9.) Buffalo Sabres
10.) Anaheim Ducks
11.) San Jose Sharks
12.) Columbus Blue Jackets
13.) New York Islanders
14.) Winnipeg Jets
15.) Vancouver Canucks
16.) Buffalo Sabres (from Vegas Golden Knights)
Round 1 of the 2022 NHL Draft is set for July 7, with Rounds 2-7 taking place on July 8 in Montreal. The last time the home team had the No. 1 overall pick was 1985 when the Maple Leafs took Wendel Clark in Toronto.