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Florida Panthers win 2014 NHL Draft lottery, leaping over Buffalo

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The Buffalo Sabres had a 25 percent chance of taking the top spot in the 2014 NHL Draft Lottery, which would have been a nice consolation prize after a terrible, imploding season.

Alas, they got more sand kicked in their face – Floridian sand.

The Florida Panthers, with an 18.8 percent chance of getting the top pick, won the NHL Draft Lottery on Tuesday night.

Last season the Panthers had the best odds and fell to No. 2 overall, taking forward Aleksander Barkov.

“We’re looking to continue to build on our core talent of the players,” said Travis Viola, VP of hockey operations. “We’re anxious to put a winner in Florida, but if we take our time and make a really good plan with Mr. Dale Tallon and Mr. Bill Torey … a little slower pace than rushing right away.”

It’s the second time the Panthers will have the first overall pick, the last time coming in 1994 when Florida took defenseman Ed Jovanovski at No. 1.

Will it be another defenseman at No. 1 for Florida? Defenseman Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts is one of three players expected to go at the top of the draft, along with Sam Reinhart and Sam Bennett.

The rest of the lottery field:

2. Buffalo Sabres 3. Edmonton Oilers 4. Calgary Flames 5. New York Islanders 6. Vancouver Canucks 7. Carolina Hurricanes 8. Toronto Maple Leafs 9. Winnipeg Jets 10. Anaheim Ducks (from Ottawa Senators) 11. Nashville Predators 12. Phoenix Coyotes 13. Washington Capitals.

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