Tonight is the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. It is a night that most up and coming hockey players dream of since they begin their careers at an early age. The draft itself spills over into Saturday with rounds 2-7. Anyone interested in catching all the "action" can tune in on either Versus in the US or TSN and RDS in Canada, but I'm sure anyone from Canada that is reading this already knows that.
The debate around the water cooler is who goes first? I think with this years draft class, it really isn't going to make much difference either way. The top two prospects (...top 4 if you ask me) are both well equiped for any type of situation they may face in their transition to the NHL. This year we find the two top dogs being Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin. Logically, Edmonton with the first pick, has a no brainer situation here. Either player is going to provide them with the upgrade they need to become a viable playoff caliber team.
For Boston, leftovers aren't something to groan about since one of these two will also be a welcome addition to their team. Boston came oh so close to making it to the Stanley Cup and I think the rigors of the season finally caught up to them in the end. Young talent, like Taylor and Tyler both possess, will most certainly aid in preventing that year end stall out that teams keep having.
Bottom line here is you can't go wrong with either choice.
If I were a betting man (and I am), I would say that Taylor hall has a slight edge over Tyler in terms of going to Edmonton. They need a winger that can be a leader right away and make an impact on the team out of the starting gate. Hall is already battle ready, having lead the Windsor Spitfires to the Memorial Cup. Expect the Oilers to draft him quickly.
That leaves Tyler to go to the Bruins. In my opinion, Tyler has a slight edge in skills and a much bigger upside in the long run. The problem here is the Bruins need another first line center like they need a hole in the head. I can see Seguin making the team from day one without having to spend much time in the minors. The only issue I see here is whether he can keep a job long term with Bergeron, Savard, and Krecji in front of him. Sadly, an injury to any one of those three could give him the big break he needs. I think whoever goes to Boston will make the fans say Kessel, who?
Here is my prediction for the Top 10. Argue all you want about positioning. This is why I blog and am not a beat writer.
1) Edmonton - Taylor Hall
2) Boston - Tyler Seguin
3) Florida - Cam Fowler (D), best puck handling defensemen in the draft
4) Columbus - Erik Gudbranson (D), could be the next Chris Pronger
5) New York Islanders - Brandon Gormley (D), solid two-way defenseman, great penalty killer
6) Tampa Bay - Brett Connolly (W), they need a winger for the Stamkos line
7) Carolina - Nino Niederreiter (W), they need a winger too so this could be a swap with #6
8) Atlanta - Jack Campbell (G), the first goalie to go in the draft, and boy do they need one
9) Minnesota - Ryan Johansen (C), an Eric Staal style centerman
10) New York Rangers - Emerson Etem (C), the Rangers need speed at center and Etem is probably the fastest skater in the draft. Plus he can score.
My hopes for the Pens...with the 23rd pick I can see a Dylan McIlrath if he falls that far. They need a defenseman for the future and Dylan is by far the grittiest of this years draft. I could also see Petr Straka at this pick. He is a highly skilled winger and above all, a playmaker. That's what the Pens need. Realistically, they may be tempted by a goalie with this pick, especially if the top tier D-men and scoring wingers are swiped up early. Maybe a Calvin Pickard or even Jack Campbell if he falls this far (I doubt it).
Well my picks weren't very good. The obvious 1, 2, & 6 were pretty much my only hits. The Thrashers, Wild, and Rangers all went a little nuts with their picks and ruined my bracket.