The Rangers didn't have any good fortune on Wednesday the way they did in the previous two NHL draft lotteries.
Instead, the Rangers will remain in the 15th spot in the selection order for the July 23-24 draft, and the Buffalo Sabres, who had the worst record in the league in 2021, will have the first pick overall.
The expansion Seattle Kraken, who will begin play as the NHL’s 32nd franchise in the 2021-22 season, began the night in the third position in the drafting order and moved up one spot, to No. 2 overall. The Anaheim Ducks dropped one spot, to No. 3 overall. The Devils will pick fourth.
The Sabres, who were 15-34-7 in 2020-21, had a 16.6% chance to retain the No. 1 spot. It will be the second time in the last four seasons that they have the No. 1 pick. In 2018, they had the first pick overall and took defenseman Rasmus Dahlin. This year, the player who most expect to be the first pick is also a defenseman, 6-5, 214-pounder Owen Power, of Missisauga, Ontario, and the University of Michigan.
Seattle had a 10.3% chance to move up from the third position. The Rangers, who were 27-23-6 on the season, had a 1.0% chance to win the first overall pick.
Two years ago, in 2019, the Rangers moved up to the second overall spot, and drafted Finnish forward Kaapo Kakko. Last year, when the NHL took 24 teams to its 2020 re-start in the Toronto and Edmonton bubbles, the league held a first-phase lottery for the seven teams who did not make it to the bubbles, and a placeholder representing the eight teams who would lose in the preliminary round of the postseason. The placeholder ended up winning, which necessitated a second lottery among the eight preliminary-round losers. The Rangers won that one, and chose French-Canadian forward Alexis Lafreniere.