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Edmonton Oilers win NHL Draft Lottery

by John Kreiser
The decision whether to take Tyler Seguin or Taylor Hall with the No. 1 pick in the NHL Entry Draft will be made by the Edmonton Oilers.

Seguin and Hall are rated No. 1 and No. 2 by Central Scouting -- and the Oilers, the last-place team in the regular-season, will get to choose between the two after winning the 2010 LG NHL Draft Lottery and retaining the No. 1 pick in the NHL Entry Draft. It's the third consecutive year and fourth time in five years that the last-place team in the regular season retained the top pick in the draft lottery.

The lottery set the draft order for the first 14 picks of the 2010 Entry Draft, to be held June 25 and 26 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Oilers are almost certain to choose either Seguin, a center with the OHL's Plymouth Whalers, or Hall, a left wing with the Windsor Spitfires. They are ranked No. 1 and 2 by Central Scouting and shared the league scoring title with 106 points apiece.

"This is a significant moment for the organization, and it's an important part of the process moving forward. We have the first overall pick in this year's draft," Oilers General Manager Steve Tambellini told the team's Web site. "This is a very exciting time for our organization and our fans. Securing the first overall draft selection tonight provides a tremendous opportunity for the Oilers."

However, Tambellini the Oilers wouldn't reveal which of the two the team would take with the first No. 1 overall selection in franchise history.

"To have a pick like this in the mode we're in, a rebuild mode, is so important," he said on TSN's telecast after the results of the lottery were revealed. "I don't think we'll announce (which player we'll take) prior to the draft. We want to go through the process. It's important for our scouts, who've worked so hard for the last couple of years, following these players. It's an important decision."

Both Hall and Seguin told TSN before the results were unveiled that they weren't worried about being picked No. 1 or where they would end up.

"Wherever I go, it's not the end of the road for me. I want to have a long NHL career,” said Hall, who wears No. 4 in honor of Bobby Orr, his favorite player -- and admitted it would be a dream to go to the Bruins. But he told TSN that "there are a lot of storied organizations.”

Seguin agreed that being chosen with the No. 1 pick is just the start. "I would be proud and thrilled, but I just want to go to a team that wants me the most. I think I have the tools to play in the NHL now,” Seguin said.

The lottery will result in the 14 non-playoff teams drafting in the same order in which they started.

The Boston Bruins, who received Toronto's first-round choice in a deal that sent Phil Kessel to the Leafs last fall, will have the No. 2 pick. The Bruins will be followed by the Florida Panthers, Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Islanders. Those were the only other teams that had a chance to win the top pick.

Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli, whose team is in the playoffs, said he'd be happy with either player

"I'm excited to get that pick," he said during a conference call after the lottery. "It means that we're going to get an impactful offensive forward.

"As far as our preference right now, we're still undecided -- but we're going to get either Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin, and both are very good offensive forwards."

The Tampa Bay Lightning will pick sixth, followed by Carolina, Atlanta, Minnesota, the New York Rangers, Dallas, Anaheim, Phoenix (using a pick obtained from Calgary) and St. Louis -- the best non-qualifier for the playoffs.

The remainder of the first round will be determined by the outcome of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Oilers, who finished with the fewest points in the League, had the best chance of winning the top pick -- they owned a 25.0-percent chance of winning the lottery outright and a 48.2-percent chance of gaining the No. 1 pick because under the rules that say no team can move up more than four spots. No team could drop more than one slot.

It's the third year in a row that the team with the fewest points in the League has won the lottery the last two years -- Tampa Bay won in 2008, when the Lightning selected Steven Stamkos, and the Islanders won in 2009, when they picked John Tavares.

After Seguin and Hall, other top prospects include Cam Fowler of the Spitfires, Erik Gudbranson of the OHL's Kingston Frontenacs, Brett Connolly of the Western Hockey League's Prince George Cougars, Brandon Gormley of the Quebec League's Moncton Wildcats and Nino Niederreiter of the WHL's Portland Winterhawks

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