Oilers win lottery for 1st pick in NHL draft

After finishing with a league-low 62 points, the Edmonton Oilers

have won the NHL draft lottery for the first overall pick in

June.

Boston, the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, will

pick second in the June 25-26 draft after acquiring Toronto’s

first-round pick in an offseason trade that sent Phil Kessel to the

Maple Leafs.

The Oilers (27-47-8) came into the annual lottery Tuesday with a

25 percent chance of securing the top pick and will select first

for the first time.

Florida will select third, followed by Columbus and the New York

Islanders – who picked first in 2009. Tampa Bay, Carolina, Atlanta,

Minnesota and the New York Rangers round out the top 10.

Barring a trade, the Oilers will become the first Canadian team

to select first since 1996, when Ottawa chose defenseman Chris

Phillips.

“It’s such an important step for us to have the ability to take

the first overall pick, especially where we are with our cycle of

development,” Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini said.

“We’re more into a reshaping, a rebuilding mode right now.

Everybody’s clear about that. This will be a wonderful building

block to add on to some of the other draft choices we have in place

now.”

While acknowledging he would listen to trade offers, Tambellini

said he was inclined to keep the pick.

“I’m sure there’s lots of teams that have ideas how to make our

team better,” he said. “I always have to listen. … We’re

focused right now on the No. 1 pick. For us to move that pick at

this point, I can’t think of what it would have to be.”

If the Oilers keep the selection, they will likely choose

between Ontario Hockey League stars Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin.

The two ended up tied atop the league’s scoring race with 106

points, with Seguin claiming the scoring title after finishing with

48 goals to Hall’s 40.

Both Hall and Seguin are expected to contribute right away,

meaning whichever player isn’t selected by Edmonton is almost

certain to end up in Boston.

The Bruins’ pick will be the highest for the franchise since it

made Joe Thornton the No. 1 overall selection in 1997. When GM

Peter Chiarelli sent Kessel to Toronto in September, he never

imagined he’d find himself in position to land either Hall or

Seguin.

“No, not really,” Chiarelli said. “We had a range in mind, we

had to choose between the Leafs and a couple other teams, and we

kind of had a range in mind. But not this high, no.”

The Oilers scored just 206 goals this season, fourth-fewest in

the league. Aside from Dustin Penner (32 goals) no other Edmonton

player had more than 17.

After trading away their 2008-09 goals leader in Kessel – and

losing playmaker Marc Savard for half the year to a concussion –

the Bruins finished last in the NHL with 196 goals. A strong

defense and solid goaltending helped Boston get into the

playoffs.

Balls representing the 14 teams that failed to make the playoffs

were in play, and only one was selected. The winner could move up a

maximum of four positions, so only the bottom five teams in the

league standings had a shot at the top pick.

Edmonton’s victory continued the recent trend of last-place

teams winning the draft lottery. St. Louis Blues used the No. 1

pick to select defenseman Erik Johnson in 2006, Tampa Bay selected

Steven Stamkos first overall in 2008 and the Islanders chose John

Tavares with the top pick last year.