TORONTO — After finishing with a league-low 62 points, the Edmonton Oilers won the NHL draft lottery for the first overall pick in June.

The Boston Bruins, 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 are expected to contribute right away, meaning whichever player isn’t selected by Edmonton is almost certain to end up in Boston.

The Oilers scored just 206 goals this season, fourth fewest in the league. Aside from Dustin Penner (32 goals), no 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 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 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.


SABRES: Center Tim Connolly said he’s ready to play in Buffalo’s first-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins.

And barring a setback, there’s a chance the Sabres also will have forward Jochen Hecht in the lineup when they host the Bruins in the opener Thursday night, and right wing Drew Stafford might not be far behind.

Connolly’s return is the most anticipated after he missed the final nine games of the regular season with a foot injury. After spending the past weekend skating on his own, Connolly took part in a full team practice on Tuesday.

“It’s been full speed for a few days now,” said Connolly, who took part in several physical drills. “It feels ready to go.”

Hecht also practiced for the first time after missing the final three games with what the team is calling an upper-body injury. The Buffalo News reported Hecht had minor surgery on his finger.

Stafford skated on his own after practice, which marked the first time he’s been on the ice since sustaining a concussion in a 5-2 win at Ottawa on Saturday. Stafford was cautious about when he will play, saying he’s not yet 100 percent.


AVALANCHE: Rookie Matt Duchene said he will be ready for the playoff opener in San Jose despite a torso injury.

Duchene skated Tuesday and said he’s “excited to get going.” The series begins today.

Colorado will be without forward Peter Mueller, who has been sidelined with a head injury after a hit along the boards against San Jose on April 4. Avalanche Coach Joe Sacco said there is no timetable for Mueller’s return.


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