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2010 NHL Draft: A look at the talent

It’s official: The Bruins will be getting the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s NHL [1] Draft. Here’s a look at some of the potential top selections come June 25:

Tyler Seguin [2] [SAY-ginn], C, Canada. 6-foot-0 3/4, 180 pounds

2009 team: Plymouth Whalers (OHL)

2009-2010 stats: 63 GP, 48 G, 58 A, 106 points, 54 PIM

Seguin was ranked as the top OHL player in this draft, but that doesn’€™t make him a sure thing to go first overall. Back in November, Bob McKenzie of CSN had seven of 10 scouts he asked say they would take Taylor Hall [3] first, so if the Bruins don’€™t win the first pick, it doesn’€™t necessarily mean that they will miss out on the top talent.

Seguin draws his inspiration from Steve Yzerman and has been compared to the Hall of Famer, though such claims prior to playing an NHL [4] are at the very least premature. Given his pedigree, however, Seguin can be expected to be the face of whichever team he is chosen by.

Seguin has constantly been pushed to maximize his potential. Beginning at age six Seguin played an age category higher than he was supposed to and at age 16 he was playing on the first line for the Whalers. Though he did have an uncomfortable transition to the OHL, the advanced competition that has been forced upon him despite age is a huge plus.

A major draw with Seguin is the fact that he is proficient in all aspects of the game. Unlike with Hall, there are no concerns about his back-checking. Seguin will probably remain a center iceman in the NHL.

Taylor Hall, F, Canada. 6-foot-0 3/4, 186 pounds

2009-2010 team: Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

2009-2010 stats: 57 GP, 40 G, 66 A, 106 points, 56 PIM

If the Bruins want an elite winger to replace Phil Kessel [5] long-term, they’€™ll do what they can to snag Hall. Though scouting reports might suggest he isn’€™t the most selfless player, his elite speed and scoring touch, coupled with a relentless drive might be reason enough for him to keep the puck.

Hall, who NHL Central Scouting compares to Devils winger Zach Parise [6], is expected to be an elite goal-scorer right off the bat without any minor-league seasoning necessary. His overall impact on the offense could be put into question, however, as he has played on powerhouses his entire life and therefore might not necessarily make his line mates better. For comparison’€™s sake, Hall’€™s Spitfires teammates include defenseman Cam Fowler (ranked as the fifth-best North American in the draft) and winger Austin Watson (14th) while none of Seguin’€™s teammates are ranked in the top 30. Hall has no relation to the former Bruin of the same name.

Brett Connolly, RW, Canada. 6-foot-2, 181 pounds

2009-2010 team: Prince George Cougars (WHL)

2009-2010 stats: 16 GP, 10 G, 9 A, 19 points, 8 PIM

You know a guy must be talented when a hip injury allows him to play in only 16 games and NHL Central Scouting still ranks him as the third-best North American skater. Connolly is known as being a hard-nosed forward with an excellent scoring touch. He was a 30-goal scorer in ‘€™08-‘€™09, his last healthy season.

Connolly’€™s player comparison according to the CSS is former Avalanche, Flyers, and Predators center Peter Forseberg. While a team would likely go for a player compared to Forseberg than one compared to Parise any day, there is enough separation between Hall and Connolly in both speed and durability that the best Connolly could potentially do for himself would be to go third overall.

Erik Gudbranson, D, Canada. 6-foot-3, 195 pounds

2009-2010 team: Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)

2009-2010 stats: 41 GP, 2 G, 21 A, 23 points, 68 PIM

Like Connolly, Gudbranson didn’t play a full ’09-’10 season due to injury, though  the Canadian defenseman missed his time due to a knee injury. Despite his being hampered, Gudbranson is still considered the top defensive prospect in the draft. It would be hard to imagine the Bruins not spending their top pick on offense after the team failed to have more than one 20-goal scorer in the regular season (Marco Sturm [7]).

Cam Fowler, D, Canada. 6-foot-2, 195 pounds

2009-2010 team: Windsor (OHL)

2009-2010 stats: 55 GP, 8 G, 32 A, 40 points, 14 PIM

One knock on Fowler at midseason [8] was that he wasn’t using his size well enough. Bruins fans don’t take kindly to shy defensemen (see: Gil, Hal), so the Bruins should stick to the guys who will improve their offense rather than taking the otherwise well-rounded Fowler.