Archive for May, 2010

Might Bruins prefer Seguin?

Friday, May 28th, 2010

With the NHL Combine all wrapped up in Toronto, it remains unclear whether the Oilers will select Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin with the first overall choice on June 25. Speaking to reporters, however, it appears the Bruins and GM Peter Chiarelli may have a slight preference on one of the players. Check this out from a story posted this afternoon on NHL.com.

“I’m really happy and thankful that we’re going to get one of those two,” Chiarelli said. “They’re terrific kids and good players in their own way. We’re really close. It may change in the coming three days when we have our amateur meetings. When you get to this point, maybe that’s when you switch over to need. I’m not saying we’re going to do that.”

The “maybe that’s when you switch over to need part” — if we want to read into that, that is — would suggest the Bruins could be prefer Seguin, who absolutely crushed the Combine despite vomiting in the VO2 test. If the team were picking for need one would think they would take the natural winger in Hall, though Chiarelli noted that Seguin, who has played plenty of wing, is fully capable of being the goal-scorer they need. He also added that Hall could play center if need be.

“Both kids said they would play any position,” Chiarelli told NHL.com. “I’ve seen Tyler play the wing. A lot has been written and said that it’s a more natural fit for Taylor to come to us because he’s a wing and Tyler to go to Edmonton because he’s a center. Half the time I’ve seen Tyler, he’s been on wing. He can play wing and frankly, it might be a way to enter him into the NHL, on the wing. Taylor told us that he’s played center and loves playing center. That shouldn’t be a distinguishing factor.”

The Bruins met with Seguin and his family on Tuesday and will do the same with Hall and his family in the coming weeks.

Here’s why Taylor Hall isn’t working out

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Today’s news that Taylor Hall will not work out at the NHL Combine due to minor back and knee injuries may raise some questions. Warren Rychel, former NHL left wing and current GM of the Windsor Spitfires, told me today that the injuries were sustained on this frightening hit Hall took from Travis Hamonic in the Memorial Cup playoffs.

Seguin, coach talk with WEEI.com

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Anticipated top-two pick Tyler Seguin and his coach, former Hartford Whaler Mike Vellucci, spoke with WEEI.com recently. Here are some of the things they hit on:

- Seguin underwent a bit of a transformation in 2009-2010. After being selfless almost to a fault as a playmaker in his first junior hockey season, he began shooting the puck more, resulting in 48 goals, which led the Ontario Hockey league. He had four more goals than Taylor Hall.

- Vellucci feels the comparisons that are made between Seguin and Steve Yzerman are just, though he feels Seguin is a slightly stronger skater. He also compares the 18-year-old to Joe Sakic citing both talent and makeup.

- Seguin has no preference between Edmonton and Boston. He is intrigued by the idea of jumping into the NHL and immediately contending for a cup with the Bruins, though he hopes to have a chance to prove himself on the  center-heavy Bruins.

For the complete story, CLICK HERE.

Video: Bruins’ top plays of 2009-10

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Courtesy of an NHL fan on YouTube, here are the top 10 plays from the Bruins’ 2009-10 season.

The voices up north have spoken …

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

That’s not a religious reference, but an indication that media outlets/fans/bloggers in Canada have been dishing opinion after opinion on the Taylor Hall/Tyler Seguin debate. The overarching expectation with less than a month to go until the draft appears to be that the Edmonton Oilers should take Hall first overall.

This Stephen Knight story in the Vancouver Sun touches on how Hall jumped ahead of the top-ranked Seguin with his outstanding Memorial Cup play. Knight writes:

“Although it’s not Canadian to admit that you wanted to show how wrong the Central Scouting Bureau was, you have to think there’s a little bit of Hall that was looking up to the scouts’ box and saying, ‘What else would you like? Is this good enough?’”

Hall’s popularity among Oilers fans skyrocketed during the tournament, during which one poster on the team’s discussion board wrote, “I truly believe that Seguin not playing in the Memorial Cup is hurting his chances for going #1 in the draft even though there is nothing he could have done about it.” Another wrote that, “if the Oilers pass up on Hall, I’m done as a fan.”

One interesting thread gaining momentum is one about what the Oilers could demand from the Bruins in a trade for the first overall pick. Some fans feel GM Steve Tambellini could ask for the second overall pick, the 15th overall pick, and top center prospect Joe Colborne. It might not get more far-fetched than that.

More to Bruins’ future than No. 2

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

The NHL draft isn’t exactly like that of the NFL and NBA, in which players selected anywhere early on step in right away, so while either Tyler Seguin or Taylor Hall will contribute to the Bruins immediately, one shouldn’t expect such an early impact from the team’s ensuing picks.

It does mean, however, that in what is believed to be a fairly deep draft, GM Peter Chiarelli needs to make his other high picks —  and he has a lot of quality good ones ‘€“ count long-term.

Not only do the Bruins have their own first-rounder, which is 15th overall (the NHL only changes the order for Conference finalists), but they’ve also got a high second-round pick from the Maple Leafs (Phil Kessel trade) in addition to their own (that extra second they picked up from the Lightning in the Mark Recchi deal was sent to the Panthers in their package for Dennis Seidenberg).

There are two ways of looking at the early picks the Bruins have. The first is that they have all the ammunition they could need to move up to No. 1 and then some, which is certainly a topic that will be visited as Hall becomes more popular with each passing day. The second is that this can be the draft class that defines Chiarelli more than anything since perhaps the 2006 free agent class.

Should there be a particular strategy? Generally in hockey it’€™s hard to say, since it could be a few years before anyone hears their team’€™s first-rounder’€™s name again. Since there isn’t another goal-scorer with Hall’s talents, going for a highlight-reel winger halfway through the first round will be tough, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get an impact winger. There are plenty of good centers in the middle of the first round (Nick Bjugstad, Mikael Granlund, Jaden Schwartz, Jeffrey Skinner), but unless it’€™s Seguin, adding to that crowded depth chart (remember Joe Colborne still needs to make his grand entrance at some point), would be confusing.

If they want to go for a wing, Tyler Toffoli is a guy worth looking into. Like many offensive prospects in each draft, he played some center in junior hockey but projects to play right wing in the NHL. Toffoli is rated as the 18th-best draft prospect by HockeyProspect.com. The 6-foot-0, 181-pounder scored 37 goals in 65 games last season for the Ottawa 67′€™s (OHL). Watch the 18-year-old’€™s goal from October as he loses his balance.

If defense is the pick, Bruins fans wanting to stay ahead of the curve should familiarize themselves with Duluth, Minn. defenseman Derek Forbort, who brings good size and strength. HockeyProspect.com ranks the 18-year-old as the 16th-best prospect in this year’€™s draft.

The 6-foot-4, 200-pounds Forbort will play college puck at North Dakota. Here is his scouting report from MyNHLDraft.com:

‘€œForbort takes advantage of his physical tools often using his long reach to take passing lanes way from opponents. Forbort plays hard nosed hockey in the corners and uses his strength to move opponents away from the slot area. Forbort is great at transitioning from offense to defense, using his speed and positioning to force players to the outside.

Forbort is very patient with the puck and anticipates the game well, he has a good shot which he keeps low allowing rebounds for his teammates.

Bruins lucky they’re not choosing

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

As long as they stand pat with the second overall choice in the 2010 NHL Draft, the Bruins are going to get a tremendous difference-maker in the form of Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin, the former an easy replacement for Phil Kessel and the latter a center often likened to Steve Yzerman. Both are impressing at the NHL Scouting Combine and both will be immediate contributors to top lines.

Which one they end up with at this point remains up in the air. Compare this draft to the 2007 NBA Draft, which featured Greg Oden and Kevin Durant: If you’re picking in the first two selections, you sit back and take whichever can’t-miss prospect (being kind to Oden) doesn’t go No. 1. Outside of the NHL Central Scouting Bureau ranking Seguin as the top player in the draft, nobody seems willing to risk their credibility by saying one will have more of an impact than the other.

“I think it’s very close,” Mike Vellucci, coach of Seguin and the Plymouth Whalers (OHL), told WEEI.com. “The things that set them apart is that Taylor Hall has played in the league for three years, and he’s been on a really good team for two of the three years. Seguin’s only been in the league two years, so it’s close. Hall is about a year older, but talent-wise it’s really close.

“One’s a center, one’s a winger, so who do I believe in? I believe in Tyler Seguin because I’ve been up-close and personal with him. I know what a great character kid he is. Saying that, Taylor Hall, I’ve coached against him about 40 games in the last three years and he’s a pretty good talent.”

So with less than a month to go until the June 25 draft in Los Angeles, the Edmonton Oilers, who are in such rough shape that their best bet is to try to distinguish between the two immense talents and pick the better player, have yet to make up their minds, or say so at least. Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini and the Oilers have done their homework on Hall and Seguin, both of whom led the OHL with 106 points, but the man controlling the Bruins’ fate didn’t tip his hand on which direction the team is leaning.

“Over the last year and a half I’ve sat down and had dinner with both of them individually, gotten to know them as people,” Tambellini said in an interview with NHL.com. “They’re both great people. Any team is going to be so fortunate to get either of those two players.”

The Bruins will be one of those teams and actually have the luxury of picking without much pressure. In the event that the top pick doesn’t pan out, they look like geniuses. If their pick flops, all they did was take the highest-rated player in the slot.
The numbers are identical and the accolades are equally immense (Seguin the league MVP and Hall a two-time Memorial Cup MVP). In a perfect world Peter Chiarelli gets his scorer in Hall, but in a draft that features an offensive one-two punch unlike any since perhaps 2001 (Ilya Kovalchuk, Jason Spezza), the Bruins should consider themselves fortunate they’re not the ones making the decision.