The Islanders will select fifth in the 2014 NHL draft after the league's draft lottery was conducted Tuesday night -- unless general manager Garth Snow decides to send that pick to the Sabres to complete the Thomas Vanek trade.
The Florida Panthers, who had the second-best percentage to win the lottery, leapfrogged the Sabres to get the No. 1 pick in the June draft. The Isles stayed at No. 5 after finishing the season 34-37-11.
Snow has until June 1 to notify the Sabres whether the Islanders will surrender this year's pick or defer to 2015, which many amateur scouts believe is a much deeper draft with two potential franchise players in Canadian junior forward Connor McDavid and Massachusetts native Jack Eichel.
Indications are that the Islanders will hold onto this year's pick to either select one of the five top prospects who are fairly equally rated, or trade the pick to acquire a more NHL-ready player.