|The voices up north have spoken …||05.27.10 at 3:55 pm ET|
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||at 9:50 am ET|
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:
“Forbort 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||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 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.”
|Put Kessel to rest||04.13.10 at 10:56 pm ET|
In every major sport, the draft is the time of year when visions of future glory bounce like through the minds of fans and front offices all across the leagues. It is fun to imagine that sought after prospect blossoming into the next big thing and carrying your team to the championship that has eluded it for so long (because, let’s face it, if you are looking forward to the draft then your team probably was not that good).
For the Bruins, this dream was spawned from a nightmare.
We are talking, of course, about Phil Kessel, who was also once a twinkle of a dream in the corner of Boston’s eye when he was taken with the fifth overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Now that Boston knows it will end up with either Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin with the No. 2 overall pick, it is time to put the Kessel issue to rest in the Hub.
Yes, he was petulant. Yes, he and coach Claude Julien had their variety of skirmishes. Yes, he was only a lukewarm two-way forward. Yes, he more or less forced himself out of Boston when Toronto general manager Brian Burke orchestrated the trade that brought him to the Leafs.
This is all water under the bridge now. Burke probably did not envision his wager in bringing in Kessel to ending up netting the Bruins No. 2 overall pick.
“This has been an emotional trade for both parties,” Chiarelli said. “I think Toronto has seen Phil and realized that he is a very good, young player. Going into making this trade, trying to project a couple other teams that were in on it, trying to project as far as where draft picks were. In the end finish we make projection that was not this high but we are going to get a very good player out of it and so is Toronto. It is a deal that was emotional for a variety of reasons and there was a lot of thought that goes into it from both sides. We feel we got good consideration for the player that we have up.”
Kessel is gone. Time to get over it. The argument now should move on what the Bruins should do with the pick — Hall of Seguin?
Both are 18-years-old. Both have been playing the in the Ontario Hockey League, where Hall’s Windsor team just knocked Seguin’s Plymouth team out of the playoffs. Both are considered to be natural scorers. Hall is more of a power forward who Chiarelli said has good net drive and physical presence, perhaps like Jerome Iginla whereas Seguin may be more of a mix between Steve Stamkos and Pat LaFontaine.
“Seguin plays for the Plymouth Whalers, he is a right shot center and could play both wings, I have seen him play both wings. He has a got a terrific shot, a terrific release, dynamic speak and playmaking ability. I have said before that is a cross between a Stamkos and a LaFontaine and I understand that is pretty lofty company but he is a pretty special player. Taylor Hall is bigger, heavier. Perhaps 12 or 13 pounds heavier. He plays more of a prototypical power forward type of game. Left shot, can play both sides. Good one-timer. Really like his drive to the net and cycles really well.”
Listening to Chiarelli talk one might come to the suspicion that he likes Seguin a little bit more (he already has a young power forward with Milan Lucic) but the fact of the matter is that both players have what the Bruins organization deeply needs — offense.
“First and foremost their talent is on the offensive side of the puck. [Hall] with the net drive and the strength and Seguin with the playmaking and the shot,” Chiarelli said.
Kessel teamed well with Boston’s top playmaker Marc Savard when he scored 36 goals in the 2008-09 season. Chiarelli said that the he could envision Seguin or Hall on the wing of Savard or paired with any of the other centers on the top three lines.
“You think about it, you put up different lines, I do it all the time,” Chiarelli said. “As far as immediate impact. Both of these players are young and I think the could play in the NHL next year. I don’t know if they are going to be immediately impactful. They have to get their feet wet too, but with the talent and skill that they have I feel that they will contribute very well in the top three lines.”
Outside of the excitement that is inherent in the NHL playoffs, which start Thursday at 7 p.m. ET in Buffalo, the future visions of either Seguin or Hall putting on a Spoked-B will be the biggest buzz the Bruins have going. In dealing Kessel away, necessary if controversial as the trade was, Chiarelli has laid the seeds of hope for a franchise that has seen its fans become jaded and bitter after years of mediocrity and issues with the owners. Kessel? Just another name to pass through town.
Seguin or Hall? Who knows, perhaps one of them will be the force that finally brings Lord Stanley’s Cup back to Boston.
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Do the Bruins Need to Make Major Change on Defense Before 2014-15?
- Should the Bruins Re-Sign Shawn Thornton?
- Bruins Prospects Look to Preserve Their AHL Playoff Run
- Complete Guide to Bruins' 2014 Offseason
- Final Report Card for Bruins' 2013-14 Season
- Game 6 Keys for Bruins, Canadiens
- Takeaways from Canadiens vs. Bruins Game 5