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The Buffalo Sabres finally won something on the heels of a season in which they endured mostly losing.

A franchise which became the NHL’s first to finish 31st in the standings following this year’s addition of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights came away a winner in the draft lottery held in Toronto on Saturday night.

After center Ryan O’Reilly acknowledged two weeks ago that a losing culture crept into the Sabres’ locker room Bryan Bulaga Jersey , perhaps landing the No. 1 pick could provide motivation, general manager Jason Botterill told The Associated Press by phone.

”We talked about change, and everyone assumes that’s like bringing in new players or bringing in new coaches, but it’s also changing things , how you go about your training,” said Botterill, who took over in May after GM Tim Murray and coach Dan Bylsma were fired.

”Hopefully this gets them that much more excited,” he added. ”We’re bringing in a No. 1 overall talent to this group. And my guess it’s going to give our coaches a jump. And it’s certainly going to give our players a little jump.”

The Sabres will pick first for the third time in team history, and first since selecting Pierre Turgeon at No. 1 in 1987. Buffalo also lands the top pick after losing the lottery each of the previous two times the team finished last and settled for the No. 2 selections in both 2014 and `15.

”I certainly know the disappointment from those couple of years, but what people have to understand is we brought in excellent players in those years,” Botterill said Howie Long Jersey , referring to Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart. ”But there always is that excitement and that attitude, the No. 1. And I’m very happy for our group.”

The Carolina Hurricanes made the biggest jump in the draft order by moving from the 11th spot to 2nd. Montreal also shook up the draft order by moving up one spot and will select third.

The Hurricanes and Canadiens moved ahead of Ottawa and Arizona. The Senators dropped from the second slot to having the fourth pick, and Arizona dropped from third to fifth.

The Sabres finished 25-45-12 and ranked last in numerous offensive categories. They extended their franchise-worst playoff drought to a seventh straight season and went 11-25-5 at home to match the fewest victories in team history.

Buffalo became just the eighth last-place finishing team to retain the first pick by winning the lottery since it was introduced by the NHL in 1995.

This year’s draft will be held at Dallas on June 22-23.

Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin is regarded as the top-rated prospect and is listed first among European skaters in the final NHL Central Scouting Bureau’s final rankings. Russian forward Andrei Svechnikov is the top-ranked North American prospect after playing for Barrie of the Ontario Hockey League.

The top-rated U.S.-born prospect is Boston University forward Brady Tkachuk, the son of former NHL star Keith Tkachuk.

Botterill said it was premature to say who the Sabres would consider selecting, though Hurricanes president Don Waddell guessed it will likely be Dahlin.

That’s fine for Waddell, who was more concerned about the Hurricanes moving back in the order.

”When it got to be No. 11 and our name didn’t come up there, it was like: `Wow, do you believe just what happened?”’ Waddell said. ”At 11, I think everybody’s comfortable that they’re going to get a good player but probably not a player that was going to jump on your team right now.”

The Hurricanes are in a state of flux under new team owner Tom Dundon.

Carolina is searching for a general manager after Ron Francis was reassigned to another front-office position last season. Last week, coach Bill Peters announced his resignation and was then hired by the Calgary Flames on Monday.

Carolina’s move up mirrored the draft lottery results from a year ago when Philadelphia made the largest jump in the lottery’s history by going from the 13th slot to picking second.

Dahlin has the chance of becoming just the second Swedish-born player to be taken first after the Quebec Nordiques chose Mats Sundin with the No. 1 pick in 1989.

Scouting bureau director Dan Marr regards Dahlin as ”the clear-cut No. 1, pro-ready prospect.” He has represented Sweden at the past two World Junior Hockey tournaments Arik Armstead Jersey , including a silver medal finish at this year’s tournament held at Buffalo. And Dahlin also had an assist in two games at the Pyeongchang Olympics in February.

The next step for the prospects will be attending the pre-draft combine in Buffalo from May 27 to June 2.

The lottery settled one more selection with Philadelphia landing the 14th pick to complete a trade in which the Flyers sent Brayden Schenn to St. Louis in June. The Blues had the option to retain this year’s first-round pick but only if it landed among the top 10 spots.

The remaining 16 draft positions will be determined based on playoff results.

AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno contributed to this story from Washington.

 

As Randy Moss entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday night, he made a societal statement without saying any words.

Moss wore a tie with 13 names on it. Those names were:

Greg Gunn, a 58-year-old unarmed black man who was shot and killed by white police officer Aaron Cody Smith, who is currently awaiting a murder trial.

Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black boy who was shot and killed by a white police officer, Timothy Loehmann, while holding an airsoft gun. Loehmann was fired but not criminally charged.

Akai Gurley, a 28-year-old unarmed black man who was shot by an Asian-American police officer, Peter Liang. Liang was convicted of manslaughter and official misconduct and sentenced to five years of probation.

Paul O’Neal, an 18-year-old unarmed black man who was shot in the back as he fled a car he had stolen. Multiple officers shot at him but none were charged or publicly identified.

Eric Garner, a 43-year-old unarmed black man who was choked to death by white police officer Daniel Pantaleo during an arrest. Pantaleo was not charged.

Freddie Gray Vinny Curry Jersey , a 25-year-old black man who died of injuries suffered while he was in the back of a police van. Caesar Goodson, the black officer who was driving the van, was charged with second-degree murder but found not guilty. Five other officers, three white and two black, were charged with lesser crimes but none were convicted.

Walter Scott, an unarmed 50-year-old black man who was shot in the back by a white police officer after a traffic stop. The officer, Michael Slager, pleaded guilty to deprivation of rights under color of law and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman who committed suicide in a jail cell three days after being arrested during a stop for a minor traffic offense. The white officer who arrested her, Brian Encina, was indicted for perjury for making false statements about the circumstances of the arrest. The perjury charge was later dropped as part of a deal in which he agreed never to work in law enforcement again.

Akiel Denkins Logan Thomas Jersey , a 24-year-old black man who was shot and killed in a struggle with white police officer D.C. Twiddy. Twiddy was not charged.

Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man who was shot by two white police officers who said he was reaching for the gun in his pocket. The officers were not charged.

Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed black man who was shot and killed by white police officer Darren Wilson. Wilson was not charged.

Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old unarmed black boy who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old mixed race Hispanic man who followed Martin around his neighborhood and called the police, reporting Martin as suspicious. Zimmerman was charged but acquitted under Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law.

Brendon Glenn, a 29-year-old unarmed black man who was shot and killed by black police officer Clifford Proctor. Proctor resigned from the police department but was not charged.

“You ask me about my tie,” Moss said on NFL Network after the enshrinement ceremony. “We all know what’s going on. You see the names on my tie. Being able to use a big platform like the Hall of Fame, what I wanted to be able to express with my tie is to let these families know that they’re not alone.”

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