DRAFT COVERAGE: Frozen Royalty begins its coverage of the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft, scheduled for Friday, June 25 and Saturday, June 26, at Staples Center and LA Live in Downtown Los Angeles. Frozen Royalty will be there for the pre-draft events on June 24, all the way through rounds 2-7 on June 26. Coverage will continue early next week and throughout draft weekend, so check back here often!
LOS ANGELES — With the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft in Los Angeles about eight days away, Taylor Hall of the Memorial Cup Champion Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) or Tyler Seguin of the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL are certain to be the first two overall selections in this year’s draft.
Seguin, the 6-1, 186-pound center from Brampton, Ontario, scored 48 goals and tallied 58 assists for 106 points with 54 penalty minutes in 63 regular season games this past season, ranking first among North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting Bureau’s (CSB) final rankings.
Named as the recipient of the Red Tilson Award as the OHL’s Most Valuable Player, Seguin is not known just for his scoring ability. Indeed, he is also considered to be the best playmaker in the 2010 draft class.
Sound positionally with great ice vision, Seguin does not shy away from physical play and is a solid all-around player.
“Tyler Seguin makes things happen every time he is on the ice and he makes his teammates better,” said Chris Edwards of the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau. “He’s a skilled forward. He’s a guy that’s obviously a top-line forward with all kinds of puck skills and playmaking abilities. He’s an elusive guy in traffic, avoiding checks with the puck.”
“He never stops moving on the ice, even in practice,” said Whalers President, General Manager and Head Coach Mike Vellucci. “He’s always moving, trying to get better. That’s what surprises me. Surprised by his talent and ability? No, but by how much he wants it.”
“It all started from the first time we practiced at the start of the year.” added Vellucci. “He worked extremely hard in practice. [In games,] he was committed to scoring goals, or beating an opponent one-on-one, or improving his defensive play. One of the best things I can say is that Tyler is a hockey player. He’s not just a player who happens to play hockey. He’s an ultimate professional.”
That is high praise, to be sure, and Seguin earned that praise for his work off the ice as well.
“It’s not about just being a player, it’s also about being a total person,” said OHL Commissioner David Branch. “Tyler’s clearly a champion, both on and of the ice.”
“Tyler’s off-ice work has been exceptional this season,” Vellucci beamed.” He’s a very mature player and a mature person and that’s a credit to his parents. He’s always willing to help out anyone on the team or anyone that’s part of the franchise.”
“In terms of his conditioning, he’s one of the most committed players I’ve ever seen,” Vellucci added. “He strives to be the best player he can possibly be and not just in games.”
While Seguin was the OHL’s Most Valuable Player, Hall led his team to their second consecutive Memorial Cup Championship in dominating fashion,
The 6-1, 185-pound left wing, a native of Kingston, Ontario, scored forty goals and added 66 assists for 106 points in 57 regular season games this past season. He also led the OHL in scoring during the playoffs, scoring 17 goals and contributing 18 assists for 35 points in 19 games.
Hall was dominant in the Memorial Cup tournament, scoring five goals and adding four assists for nine points in four games, leading all scorers.
Hall is known as a dynamic player, an explosive skater who possesses elite puck-handling skills. A pure goal scorer, he is expected to contribute right away at the NHL level.
“When you talk about Hall, you talk about quickness, acceleration and hands,” said E.J. McGuire of the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau. “Easily and arguably, he could have been our number one pick overall.”
“Taylor has done it all,” added McGuire. “He’s the reigning Most Valuable Player of the Memorial Cup tournament and has played on two medal-winning World Championship teams.”
If Hall has done it all and has been so dominant, why did he drop to number two behind Seguin in CSB’s final rankings for North American skaters?
The reason, to put it simply, is that, all things being equal, centers often have a greater impact on a line and on a game because they generally control the puck more than wingers do.
“The full season body of work said that [Seguin] is going to be a great player in the National Hockey League,” McGuire told NHL.com. “So is Taylor Hall. In our minds, other than the position, they are equal…”
“They’re equal, but we can’t sit on the fence,” McGuire continued. “We went with the right-shot center.”
“I think they’re so close. I don’t think that’s all being wishy-washy about it, but there may be something that a team sees that may sway them this much in order to pick one over the other.”
Hall’s head coach was critical of CSB’s decision to rank Seguin above Hall in their final rankings.
“I’m shocked,” Spitfires head coach Bob Boughner told the Windsor Star. “Different people see different things, but if you’ve watched the way Hall’s played in the second half of the season and in the playoffs, I don’t know if there’s a better player in junior hockey.”
Hall or Seguin…one of the teams with that dilemma is the Edmonton Oilers, who will select first in the 2010 draft.
“[Hall] plays with no fear,” said Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini. “That’s just the way he is. He’s finding a way to get to the net, so I think, overall, from a scouting perspective, you have to admire that.”
After all that, who will be the first overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft? Frozen Royalty’s prediction is that whichever team winds up with the first pick in the draft—there are rumblings that the Oilers are entertaining trade offers from other teams, including the Boston Bruins, who have the second overall pick—they will choose Hall, who is the more proven, accomplished prospect, over Seguin.
But what happens after the first two picks, after Hall and Seguin are gone?
For that, check back here on Frozen Royalty early next week.
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