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Tyler Seguin Tops Taylor Hall in Final NHL Rankings for 2010 Entry Draft

by Blue Jackets Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets

Center Tyler Seguin (Brampton, Ontario) of the Ontario Hockey League's Plymouth Whalers, who was ranked second at mid-season by the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau, has supplanted left wing Taylor Hall (Kingston, Ontario) of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires as the top-ranked North American player for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Throughout the 2009-10 season, Seguin and Hall have been battling neck-and-neck for more than just draft ranking. They finished the OHL regular season tied for most points, each with 106. Seguin ranked third in the OHL with 48 goals in 63 games, while Hall led all playmakers with 66 assists in 57 games.

Joining Seguin and Hall among the top North American skaters is another highly skilled forward: No. 3-ranked Brett Connolly (Prince George, British Columbia) of the Western Hockey League’s Prince George Cougars. An injury-plagued season limited Connolly to just 16 games, but the right winger still managed to score 10 goals and averaged over a point-per-game (10-9-19). Connolly was ranked fourth in the mid-term rankings.

Rounding out the top six are a trio of talented defensemen: #4-ranked Erik Gudbranson (Orleans, Ontario) of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, #5-ranked Cam Fowler (Northville, Michigan) a member of the gold-medal-winning U.S. team at the 2010 World Junior Championships and Hall’s teammate in Windsor, and #6-ranked Brandon Gormley (Murray River, PEI) of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Moncton Wildcats.

Forward Mikael Granlund, who plays for Finnish league club HIFK, is the top-rated European-based player. Granlund averaged nearly a point-per-game in his first season in Finland's top league, tallying 40 points (13 goals, 27 assists) in 43 games. Calvin Pickard (Winnipeg, Manitoba) from the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League remains the top-ranked North American goaltender. His brother Chet, was selected by the Nashville Predators in the first round of the 2008 Entry Draft and currently plays for the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals.

In its 35th year of operation, the NHL Central Scouting Service provides scouting and evaluation of draft-eligible players to NHL member clubs. Headed by Director of Central Scouting E.J. McGuire, NHL Central Scouting employs eight full-time and 15 part-time scouts throughout North America. To report on prospects playing in Europe, the NHL employs the services of Goran Stubb and his staff of six scouts at European Scouting Services, based in Finland. Combined, the NHL Central Scouting and European Scouting Services will see in excess of 3,000 games this season.

For the first time in its 46-year history, the NHL Entry Draft will be held in California as the Los Angeles Kings and STAPLES Center host the two-day event on June 25-26, 2010. Round one, on Friday, June 25, will be broadcast live by Versus in the U.S. and TSN and RDS in Canada as well as NHL Radio, beginning at 7 p.m. ET. NHL Network (U.S. and Canada) will carry rounds 2-7 on Saturday, June 26, beginning at 1 p.m., ET.

Following are brief profiles on the top six ranked North American Skaters for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft:

TYLER SEGUIN (SAY-gin), Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
6’1” 172 lbs. Center, Shoots right, Born: Jan. 31, 1992 in Brampton, Ontario
Final Ranking: 1st North American Skater

Quick Facts
Seguin finished the regular season tied for the league lead with 106 points (48-58-106), becoming the first player in Plymouth franchise history to lead the OHL in scoring. His 48 goals in 63 games ranked third in the OHL on the season. He starred for Canada at the 2009 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in the Czech Republic, leading the event with four goals and six assists (4-6-10) in four games, helping Canada win gold. Seguin also won a gold medal with Team Ontario at the World Under-17 Challenge, finishing second in tournament scoring with 11 points on a tournament-best eight assists in six games. His father, Paul, played at the University of Vermont, where he was the team captain and a roommate of future NHLer John LeClair.

Statistics: Team (League) – GP, G-A-PTS, PIM
2008-09: Plymouth/OHL – 61 GP, 21-46-67, 28 PIM
2009-10: Plymouth/OHL – 63 GP, 48-58-105, 54 PIM

TAYLOR HALL, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
6’1” 185 lbs. Left wing, Shoots left, Born: Nov. 14, 1991 in Calgary, Alberta
Final Ranking: 2nd North American Skater

Quick Facts
Hall finished the regular season tied for the OHL lead with 106 points (40-66-106). Despite playing just 57 games, he also led the league with 66 assists. Hall represented Team Canada at the 2010 World Junior Championships, winning a silver medal as the only draft-eligible player on Canada’s roster. He was named to the tournament’s all-star team after finishing second on Team Canada with 12 points (6-6-12), which included a hat-trick against Slovakia. In the 2009 postseason, he recorded a CHL-leading 36 points (16-20-36) in 20 games en route to winning a Memorial Cup championship for his Windsor Spitfires as well as the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

Statistics: Team (League) – GP, G-A-PTS, PIM
2008-09: Windsor (OHL) – 63 GP, 38-52-90, 60 PIM
2009-10: Windsor (OHL) – 57 GP, 40-66-106, 56 PIM

6’2” 181 lbs. Right wing, Shoots left, Born: May 2, 1992 in Campbell River, British Columbia
Final Ranking: 3rd North American Skater

Quick Facts
An injury-plagued season limited Connolly to just 16 games in 2009-10, but he still managed to score 10 goals and average over a point-per-game (10-9-19). He is currently representing Canada at the 2010 Under-18 World Championships for the second straight year in Belarus. In 2008-09, he became the first 16-year-old Western Hockey League rookie to score 30 goals in a season since Patrick Marleau in 1995-96. He finished with a team-high 60 points and beat out Evgeny Grachev and Dmitry Kulikov --both high 2009 NHL draft picks --to be named CHL Rookie of the Year. Born in Campbell River, British Columbia, Connolly played his minor hockey in Port Hardy before moving to Prince George to finish out his minor hockey career.

Statistics: Team (League) – GP, G-A-PTS, PIM
2008-09: Prince George (WHL), 65 GP, 30-30-60, 38 PIM
2009-10: Prince George (WHL), 16 GP, 10-9-19, 8 PIM

ERIK GUDBRANSON (GUH-bran-sehn), Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
6’4” 195 lbs. Defenseman, Shoots right, Born: Jan. 7, 1992 in Ottawa, Ontario
Final Ranking: 4th North American Skater

Quick Facts
Gudbranson had his fare share of ups and downs this season. Due to injury, he played just 41 games in 2009-10, recording 23 points (2-21-23), a plus-11 rating and 68 penalty minutes. He is currently playing for Canada’s Under-18 team in Belarus at the IIHF World Championship. It is his third consecutive tournament with the team having won gold at the 2009 Ivan Hlinka Memorial and finished fourth at the 2008 Under-18 World Championships. Gudbranson is the oldest of four hockey playing siblings: Alex (15), plays with the Ottawa Junior 67s minor-midget team and is likely a high pick in this year’s OHL Priority Draft; Dennis (12) plays for the Gloucester Hawks Peewee team; and sister Chantal (10) plays on a boy’s hockey team. One of the biggest influences in his life has been his younger brother, Dennis, who has now beaten cancer twice: “He's battled through cancer, and had to go through the whole radiation, chemotherapy, all the drugs. He's definitely a really tough kid and someone you have to look up to.”

Statistics: Team (League) – GP, G-A-PTS, PIM
2008-09: Kingston (OHL) – 63 GP, 3-19-22, 69 PIM
2009-10: Kingston (OHL) – 41 GP, 2-21-23, 68 PIM

CAM FOWLER, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
6’1” 190 lbs. Defenseman, Shoots left, Born: Dec. 5, 1991 in Windsor, Ontario
Final Ranking: 5th North American Skater

Quick Facts
In 55 games this season he tallied 55 points (8-47-55), finishing seventh among Ontario Hockey League defensemen and his plus-38 rating helped the Spitfires finish first in their conference. He was a member of the U.S. team that won the gold medal at the 2010 World Junior Championship and at the 2009 Under-18 World Championship where he was named the tournament's Top Defenseman. Fowler played his youth hockey in the famed Detroit Honeybaked system before spending two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program (2007-09). He was born in Windsor, Ontario and holds dual citizenship as his family moved to Michigan when he was two years old.

Statistics: Team (League) – GP, G-A-PTS, PIM
2008-09: U.S. U-18 (USDP) – 38 GP, 6-24-30, 40 PIM
2009-10: Windsor (OHL) – 55 GP, 8-47-55, 14 PIM

6’2” 185 lbs. Defenseman, Shoots left, Born: Feb. 18, 1992 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Final Ranking: 6th North American Skater

Quick Facts
In 2009-10, he had nine goals and 43 points in 58 games and has played well on the power-play for Moncton --10 of his 15 goals over the last two seasons have come on the man-advantage. Prior to being selected first in the 2008 QMJHL draft, Gormley had 26 goals and 53 points in 42 games with Notre Dame's team in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA League. Dallas Stars Brad Richards, also from Murray River, PEI, took the same path in his hockey career – attending Notre Dame before playing in the QMJHL and ultimately making it to the NHL.

Statistics: Team (League) – GP, G-A-PTS, PIM
2008-09: Moncton (QMJHL) – 62 GP, 7-20-27, 34 PIM
2009-10: Moncton QMJHL – 58 GP, 9-34-43, 54 PIM

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