NEW YORK (AP) -The final result of the New York Islanders' worst season in nine years is the opportunity for them to land a player who just might be able to turnaround the beleaguered franchise.
The Islanders won the NHL draft lottery and the No. 1 overall pick on Tuesday night, giving them the right to take one of two highly touted prospects - forward John Tavares and Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman.
"It put a huge smile on my face," said general manager Garth Snow, in his third year on the job. "It's a great moment for our franchise, a great moment for our fans."
New York finished last overall in the NHL with 61 points this season and had the best odds of landing the No. 1 pick.
The draw was held at the league's offices in New York and the results were announced in Toronto by deputy commissioner Bill Daly.
League rules stipulate that a team can move up no more than four positions in the lottery or drop more than one. There was no movement between the 14 non-playoff teams involved.
Following the Islanders will be Tampa (No. 2), Colorado (No. 3), Atlanta (No. 4) and Los Angeles (No. 5).
Colorado finished in last place in the Western Conference this season, and fired general manager Francois Giguere on Monday.
The Avalanche will have a draft pick in the top 10 for the first time since relocating to Denver from Quebec in 1995.
"It's a tremendous amount of excitement for our organization and for our fan base, to have the opportunity to select a premier player in this year's draft," said Craig Billington, the Avalanche's vice president of hockey operations. "This draft is a very strong draft."
Toronto ended up with the seventh pick, Ottawa got the ninth selection and Edmonton received the 10th choice.
The 16 playoff teams will have their draft positions determined at the end of the postseason.
The Islanders have the top draft pick for the first time since 2000, when they chose franchise goalie Rick DiPietro.
Unless the Islanders trade the pick, choice this year comes down to Tavares or Hedman.
In brief scouting reports, Snow said Hedman is "6-foot-6 and can skate like the wind," and praised Tavares for the gaudy offensive numbers he has posted.
Snow said he has a player ranked first in his mind, but added the organization will hold meetings in the coming days to discuss who will be the right fit.
"Yeah I do, but I'm not going to share it," he said. "We're going to get a great player for this team."
Tavares was the top-ranked North American skater in final rankings by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau. Hedman was tops among Europeans.
The Islanders went through growing pains all season as they dived deeply into a youth movement under first-year coach Scott Gordon, who moved up from the AHL.
New York already has promising rookies Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey, last year's first-round pick. The Islanders owned the No. 5 pick in 2008 but traded down twice and grabbed Bailey with the ninth selection.
Okposo was the Islanders' second-leading scorer with 18 goals and 39 points in 65 games. Bailey had seven goals and 25 points in 68 games. Snow admitted there would be a lot of pressure to get this pick right at the draft, which will be held at Montreal's Bell Centre on June 26.
"It's going to be a great draft day for this organization and our fans," Snow said.