NHL Mock Draft IV: Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin Still Deadlocked With Draft a Week Away


NHL Mock Draft IV: Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin Still Deadlocked With Draft a Week Away Welcome to the fourth of five NESN.com 2010 NHL mock drafts leading up to the June 25 NHL entry draft in Los Angeles.

The big question is still who will be picked first overall, and this year is especially puzzling. The top two prospects — Plymouth Whalers center Tyler Seguin and Windsor Spitfires winger Taylor Hall — are practically even in the minds of NHL teams and draft experts. Even after the NHL combine in Toronto two weeks ago, the two future stars are still dead even.

That remains the case right now, but there is till the slim possibility the Bruins and Oilers end up swapping picks or players to get the guy they really want.

1. Edmonton Oilers
2009-10 record: 27-47-8, 62 points
The pick: Taylor Hall, left wing, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Analysis: Hall remains in the top spot for the second straight week, and word from one prominent agent is that the Oilers — just as the Bruins may if they get Seguin — could decide to ask the winger to switch positions and play center. Interesting stuff, but his skill seems better suited for the wing and it would be a shame to waste that.

2. Boston Bruins (from Toronto)

2009-10 record: 39-30-13, 91 points
The pick: Tyler Seguin, center, Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Analysis: Seguin goes to the Bruins for the second straight week, but we should note that Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli did note that he and his staff know the player they want with this pick. While he said he hasn?t approached Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini about trading to secure they get that player, he admitted it could get to that point.

3. Florida Panthers
2009-10 record: 32-37-13, 77 points
The pick: Erik Gudbranson, defenseman, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
Analysis: Size, skill and the always-coveted puck smarts for this promising blue liner could be too much for new Panthers GM Dale Tallon to pass on. But there are plenty of trade rumors surrounding the Panthers and this pick.

4. Columbus Blue Jackets
2009-10 record: 32-35-15, 79 points
The pick: Cam Fowler, defenseman, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Analysis: The word around the NHL for the last two weeks has been that this pick was being dangled for a veteran defenseman such as Toronto blue-liner Tomas Kaberle, but word from Columbus now is that Columbus would like a young stud D-man like Fowler.

5. New York Islanders
2009-10 record: 34-37-11, 79 points
The pick: Brett Connolly, left wing, Prince George Cougars (WHL)
Analysis: Again, Connolly?s stock is skyrocketing despite an injury-riddled season, and Garth Snow, the Isles' GM, could be salivating over having him ride shotgun with last year?s No. 1 pick overall, John Taveres.

6. Tampa Bay Lightning
2009-10 record: 34-36-12, 80 points
The pick: Brandon Gormley, defenseman, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL) 
Analysis: New GM Steve Yzerman is apparently shopping for a veteran goalie, and why not add another skilled young defenseman to go with the 2009 second overall pick Victor Hedman in front of whoever that netminder ends up being?

7. Carolina Hurricanes
2009-10 record: 35-37-10, 80 points
The pick: Ryan Johansen, center, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Analysis: The Hurricanes still have a great young star in captain Eric Staal, but Johansen could be the foundation of the rebuild in Carolina, and he has Staal-like qualities on and off the ice.

8. Atlanta Thrashers
2009-10 record: 35-34-13, 83 points
The pick: Jack Campbell, goaltender, USA U-18 (USHL)
Analysis: Lots of mock drafts have the Thrashers grabbing a forward here, but I'm still not sold on Atlanta's future between the pipes, and that?s why they may very well take the best goalie available in Campbell. If they don?t, he won?t be there when they pick again at 24.

9. Minnesota Wild
2009-10 record: 38-36-8, 84 points
The pick: Mikael Granlund, center, HIFK Finland
Analysis: Granlund is one of my picks that has stayed the same throughout all of these drafts because I really like the playmaking skill that he brings and that the Wild lack.

10. New York Rangers

2009-10 record: 38-33-11, 87 points
The pick: Nino Niederreiter, right wing, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Analysis: "El Nino," as many are dubbing Niederreiter, is going to light up Broadway with his tenacity and offensive flair.

11. Dallas Stars
2009-10 record: 37-31-14, 88 points
The pick: Alexander Burmistrov, center, Barrie Colts (OHL)
Analysis: Burmistrov is one of the few Russians that scouts and team brass aren?t fearing will bolt for the KHL or not come to the U.S. to play.

12. Anaheim Ducks
2009-10 record: 39-32-11, 89 points
The pick: Jeffrey Skinner, center, Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
Analysis: "Pure scoring machine" is a good way to describe this talented pivot. If he gets his maturity and work ethic issues under wraps, he could be a steal this late.

13. Phoenix Coyotes (from Calgary)

2009-10 record: 50-25-7, 107 points
The pick: Derek Forbot, defenseman, USA U-18 (USHL)
Analysis: Forbot leaps up again, as his stock is rising. He is probably one of the fastest defensemen in the draft, and at 6-foot-5, 200 pounds, the size and speed combo is hard to pass on if he does drop to 13.

14. St. Louis Blues

2009-10 record: 40-32-10, 90 points
The pick: Nick Bjugstad, center, Blaine High School (Minn.)
Analysis: Bjugstad is a gamble because of how far he may be from the pro level, but his raw skill is worth the risk.

15. Boston Bruins
2009-10 record:
39-30-13, 91 points
The pick: Dylan McIlrath, defenseman, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
Analysis: One scout said on Thursday that McIlrath is a dream player for new Bruins president Cam Neely and is easily the toughest player available in the draft. On top of that, he already has a rivalry established with new Canadiens forward Ian Shultz, who was acquired in the Jaroslav Halak trade on Thursday.

16. Ottawa Senators
2009-10 record: 44-32-6, 94 points
The pick: Beau Bennett, right wing, Penticton (BCHL)
Analysis: Bennett may be one of the best passers in the draft and has very keen hockey instinct.

17. Colorado Avalanche
2009-10 record: 43-30-9, 95 points
The pick: Jarred Tinordi, defenseman, USA U-18 (USHL)
Analysis: The bloodlines are there with Tinordi being the son of longtime NHLer Mark Tinordi, and this mammoth rear guard (6-foot-6, 205 pounds) could turn into a premier shutdown defenseman.

18. Nashville Predators
2009-10 record: 47-29-6, 100 points
The pick: Emerson Etem, right wing, Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL) 
Analysis: The Preds get a star center in the making for when Jason Arnott finally hangs them up.

19. Los Angeles Kings
2009-10 record: 46-27-9, 101 points
The pick:
Austin Watson, left wing, Peterborough Petes (OHL)
Analysis: Kings GM Dean Lombardi has said he values character and a solid two-way game. Dean, meet Austin!

20. Pittsburgh Penguins

2009-10 record: 47-28-7, 101 points
The pick: Jonathon Merrill, defenseman, USA U-18 (USHL)
Analysis: There has been chatter this past week that Merrill will definitely go higher than this, but there is a surplus of high-end defensemen available, and that?s why the Pens could get Merrill here.

21. Detroit Red Wings
2009-10 record: 44-24-14, 102 points
The pick: Mark Pysk, defenseman, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL) 
Analysis: Pysk fits in with the smooth-skating, smart-with-the-first-pass defensemen the Red Wings always seem to get.

22. Phoenix Coyotes
2009-10 record: 50-25-7, 107 points
The pick: Teemu Pulkkinen, left wing, Jokerit, Finland
Analysis: Pulkkinen is a natural passer, but he has an accurate shot. If he's urged to use it, he could become a sniper for a team that badly needs one.

23. Buffalo Sabres
2009-10 record: 45-27-10, 100 points
The pick: Jaden Schwartz, center, Tri-City Storm (USHL)
Analysis: The Sabres have some depth at center with Tim Connolly and Derek Roy, but the former is supposedly being shopped due to his injury problems, and Schwartz could eventually be a top-notch playmaker that can feed the puck to Thomas Vanek.

24. Atlanta Thrashers (from New Jersey)
2009-10 record: 35-34-13, 83 points
The pick: Tyler Toffoli, right Wwng, Ottawa 67s (OHL)
Analysis: Tiffoli fits in the mold of the type of player new Thrashers GM Rick Dudley loves. He is a big-game scorer with grit and heart.

25. Vancouver Canucks
2009-10 record: 49-28-5, 103 points
The pick: Tyler Pitlick, center, Minnesota State (WCHA)
Analysis: Pitlick never gives up on the puck, has become better without it and can finish with it.
26. Washington Capitals
2009-10 record: 54-15-13, 121 points
The pick: Vladimir Tarasenko, right wing, Novisibirsk, Russia
Analysis: Tarasenko is one of the Russian prospects whose talent is unquestioned, and if not for question marks on his work ethic and whether he will chose the KHL over the NHL, he would — and still could — go much higher. But if he is here, then the Canucks may not be able to resist the upside.

27. Montreal Canadiens
2009-10 record: 39-33-10, 88 points
The pick: Stanislav Galiev, right wing, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Analysis: The Habs have had a nasty habit of letting players in their own backyard — not necessarily French-Canadians, but players playing in the QMJHL — slip to other teams. Last season, they began their efforts to correct this trend, taking Montreal native Louis Leblanc. Word has it that they have their eyes focused on Galiev, who finished the season with 60 points and helped the Sea Dogs to the best regular-season record in the league.

28. San Jose Sharks
2009-10 record: 51-20-11, 113 points
The pick: Connor Brickley, center, Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL)
Analysis: Word from Brickley?s family advisor Jim Troy is that Brickley?s phone has been ringing off the hook with calls from NHL teams wanting to do phone interviews and meet in person when the second cousin of Andy Brickley touches down in Los Angeles next week. He could go even higher than No. 28.

29. Anaheim Ducks (from Philadelphia)
2009-10 record: 39-32-11, 89 points
The pick: Alexandre Petrovic, defenseman, Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
Analysis: Petrovic is a tough yet skilled blue-liner that could become a top four D-man for the Ducks.

30. Chicago Blackhawks
2009-10 record: 52-22-8, 112 points
The pick: Charlie Coyle, center, South Shore Kings (EJHL)
Analysis: Coyle is impressing plenty of team brass in interviews, and his gritty style on the ice could help him end up with the defending Stanley Cup champions — and the team for which his cousin starred.

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