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GM Tim Murray of the Buffalo Sabres knows there’s a silver lining to the NHL Draft Lottery.
He knows that the Edmonton Oilers’ winning the right to draft Connor McDavid – moving up to the No. 1 pick, from their third-worst record and third-best odds – leaves them with a chance to select Jack Eichel, a Boston University center and a franchise player in his own right.
“We're disappointed not to get 1st, but we're happy with 2nd. Two franchise-changing guys in this draft,” Murray said, via the Sabres.
But still … Saturday night was the end of a two-year journey for Murray and the Sabres. The prize at the end was McDavid. The consolation prize, as rewarding as it is, was Eichel.
"If you could have one or two, you would naturally want one,” he said, via Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun.
He added, "I'm disappointed for our fans."
As he should be. They were all in this together -- the Sabres deciding to dive down the standings with an eye on McDavid, the fans joining the effort to the point where they were actively rooting against their team at home games to help pile up the losses.
Getting McDavid would have immediately made it all worth the pain. Eichel still might, but not instantly.
Many were stunned by the result, but Murray knew the numbers. There was a 20 percent chance the Sabres could win the lottery. “Knowing you have an 80 percent chance going in not to win, this is what you expect,” he said, while adding, “"We came up here with an expectation we'd probably be picking No. 2 and we're going to deal with it."
If anything, Murray just wished the NHL would have saved him the trip and told him the Sabres were picking No. 2.
"It would be fine with me if they phoned me and told me you didn't win. But this is what they do. Thankfully it's a short drive from Buffalo. I'd hate like hell to be flying across the country to take part in it,” he said, via Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News.
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