Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rosie's Rebounds: Hall vs. Seguin

With the first pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, the Edmonton Oilers select…

Okay, we won’t know quite yet whom the Oilers will select with the first pick, but we do know that it will either be Taylor Hall (Windsor Spitfires) or Tyler Seguin (Plymouth Whalers) from the Ontario Hockey League. So why can’t the speculation begin now?

This should be the most intriguing choice since 1987 (from a Canadian Hockey perspective) when the Buffalo Sabres took Pierre Turgeon of the Granby Bisons of the QMJHL as the No. 1 overall pick over Brendan Shanahan (London Knights, OHL), who was picked second by the New Jersey Devils.

Both players went on to have a long and successful career. Turgeon scored 515 goals and tallied 1327 points in his 19-year NHL career with the Sabres, Islanders, Canadiens, Blues, Stars and Avalanche, while Shanahan scored 656 goals and gathered 1,354 points in his 21 seasons with the Devils, Blues, Red Wings, Rangers and the old Hartford Whalers.

The major difference between the two, however, is the playoff success. Turgeon never made an appearance in the Stanley Cup during his career and only played in the conference finals once in 2001 with the Blues (he could have played in two conference finals if it wasn’t for Dale Hunter’s cheap shot in 1993 in the Patrick Division Finals, see video below). Meanwhile, Shanahan won three Cups with the Red Wings.

Flash forward 23 years later, and we have another debate on who will be the No. 1 pick, Hall or Seguin. This will arguably be one of the toughest decisions that General Manager Steve Tambellini will make in his career.

Both Seguin and Hall led the OHL in scoring with 106 points during the 2009-10 regular season. Hall’s Windsor club finished first in the Western Conference, while Seguin’s Plymouth squad finished fourth. The two teams met in the OHL semis the past two years where Windsor beat Plymouth on both occasions.

Advantage: Hall

But because the two players are eerily similar in basically every category from playmaking ability to goal-scoring ability, it will be difficult for Tambellini to make a pick based on talent alone. So now this leads us to what the Oilers’ bigger need, center or wing?

You look at the current Oilers roster and they have a surplus of centers including Sam Gagner, Gilbert Brule, Shawn Horcoff, Patrick O’Sullivan, Ryan Potulny, Andrew Cogliano, Mike Comrie and Marc Pouliot just to name a few. Out of that bunch, Comrie is a unrestricted free agent this summer, while Pouliot, Gagner, Cogliano, Brule and Potulny are restricted free agents
this upcoming offseason.

At wing, Dustin Penner had a career high 32 goals, while Robert Nilsson had 11 and Ales Hemsky had 22 points in 22 games played this year, before his season ended on November 25 due to a shoulder injury. Due to shortage of wingers, both Cogliano and O’Sullivan played at wing during the course of the year.

So, with the shortage of wingers, one would think that I would give the advantage to Hall. However, with Comrie as a UFA this summer along with the list of RFA’s at center, I am going to go with Seguin in this category as the bigger need for the time being.

Advantage: Seguin

With so much uncertainty on who will be the No. 1 pick, one can expect Tambellini and company to wait until the last minute. And even though most pundits had John Tavares as the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft, Islanders GM Garth Snow still waited until the last minute to pick Tavares. Rumors that day even had Matt Duchene as the No. 1 pick, but of course we all know what
happened in the end. Tavares of course was picked first and Duchene went third to the Avalanche.

With the NHL Scouting Combine taking place May 24-29, one might think that this could the Oilers in their decision-making process. But regardless of their intent, the Oilers are filling one of their needs for the future of the franchise.

But now we know that Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and company is sitting pretty with the No. 2 pick. With arguably one of the toughest debates in the Draft's recent history, the Black and Gold couldn’t have asked for a better pick.

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