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Bruins lucky they’re not choosing

05.26.10 at 7:24 pm ET

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 “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 “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.
Read More: 2010 NHL Draft, Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin,
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