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2010 Draft's best to face off at Top Prospects Game

by Adam Kimelman
Tyler Seguin, Brandon Gormley and Brett Connolly, NHL Central Scouting's top-rated skaters from the OHL, QMJHL and WHL, respectively, top the list of 40 top prospects for the 2010 Entry Draft named to the Home Hardware CHL-NHL Top Prospects Game.

The two-day affair, which features a skills competition and a regulation game, will be held Jan. 19-20, 2010, in Windsor, Ont., at the WFCU Centre.

While the game will feature all-star-type rosters, the contest will have a completely different feel. One of the biggest highlights from last year's game was Peterborough's Zack Kassian leveling Oshawa's John Tavares with a tremendous shoulder-to-shoulder check that knocked the 2009 top pick out of the game.

Coaching the teams will be Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Orr and Hockey Night in Canada icon Don Cherry.

Orr will be assisted by Windsor coach Bob Boughner, while Cherry's staff will have Hockey Hall of Famer Brian Kilrea and Bert O'Brien.

Among the bigger names selected was Windsor's Taylor Hall, the leading scorer in the OHL with 59 points in 34 games and the only 2010 draft-eligible player named to Canada's World Junior Championship team. Hall was second to Seguin among OHL skaters in Central Scouting's preliminary rankings, which were released last month.

"It's a good feeling," said Hall. "One of the goals of mine was to be in the Top Prospects Game and I've achieved that. The goal now is to get through this World Juniors, hopefully bring home a medal for my country. And then the next step is playing well in the Top Prospects Game because it is something scouts really evaluate."

Two of Hall's Spitfires teammates will be with him, defenseman Cam Fowler -- who will play for the U.S. at the World Juniors -- and power forward Austin Watson.

Those three will be on Team Cherry. Among those joining them are a pair of defenseman from the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Brock Beukeboom and Brandon Archibald, as well as a pair of players from the WHL's Portland Winterhawks -- forward Ryan Johansen and defenseman Troy Rutkowski.

Portland forward Nino Niederreiter also was selected for the team, but will play for Team Orr.
Seguin, who also will play for Team Orr, is second in the OHL with 27 goals and 55 points in 32 games, was one of the final cuts from Canada's national junior team.

"I'm excited about playing in the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game," said Seguin. "It's an opportunity to play among the best players in the CHL. The game is something we all dream about when we're growing up, so we're all looking forward to play. It should be a lot of fun."

Joining Seguin on Team Orr will be Connolly, the Prince George Cougars left wing. Connolly has been plagued by hip problems most of the season but has 13 points in 12 games.

"It's a great honor that they consider me one of the top prospects," said Connolly. "I'd like to be able to show people where I'm at with the best draft-eligible players in the country. It'll be stiff competition, for sure. I've had a chance to play with a couple of guys from Ontario and there are great players in Quebec and of course in our league as well. It's a great measuring stick for me and I'm looking forward to the chance to play in the game."

Gormley, another a final cut from the Canadian junior team, also will play for Team Orr. The 6-foot-2, 187-pound defenseman for the QMJHL's Moncton Wildcats has 23 points in 33 games this season.
Two of Gormley's Moncton teammates will join him on Team Orr -- forward Kirill Kabanov and goaltender Louis Domingue. Kabanov was second to Gormley in Central Scouting's QMJHL skater rankings, while Domingue was the top-rated goalie.

The Sudbury Wolves' John McFarland, who also was invited to Canada's final national junior evaluation camp, will skate for Team Orr.

The Niagara IceDogs' Mark Visentin, the OHL's top-rated goalie, also will play for Team Orr.

Team Cherry's goalies will be Calvin Pickard of the Seattle Thunderbirds -- the WHL's No. 1 netminder -- and Maxime Clermont of the QMJHL's Gatineau Olympiques.

Windsor, Portland and Moncton tied for having the most players selected, with three each. Four teams had two players each picked -- Sault Ste. Marie and Ottawa from the OHL, Rimouski from the QMJHL and Moose Jaw from the WHL.

The 40 players are selected through a survey of the NHL's 30 general managers conducted by NHL Central Scouting.
Contact Adam Kimelman at

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