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Taylor or Tyler that is the question

by Kristi Hennessy / Edmonton Oilers
Now that the dust has settled, so to speak, Edmonton Oilers General Manager Steve Tambellini can breathe a sigh of relief. They have it. The top pick in the 2010 NHL entry draft. It’s easy, just pick the best player.

For Tambellini, that’s easier said than done. You have two very good, possibly great-to-be players at their disposal - Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin. Now the challenge really begins for the Oilers management and scouting staff.

“Some have asked me, ‘wouldn’t you rather have two?’ I said no, I’d rather be in control,” explained Steve Tambellini. “You want to be able to put your scouts through that process and make them make a decision. Make them determine who is better now and who will be better later.”

Every scout in the NHL has had their eyes glued to these particular two players all season. Watching their every move and noting their individual strengths and improvements. We had a chance to talk with both players to see what they think of their overall play.


PETERBOROUGH, ON - DECEMBER 5: Taylor Hall #4 of the Windsor Spitfires skates in a game against the Peterborough Petes on December 5,2009 at the Peterborough Memorial Centre in Peterborough, Ontario. The Spitfires defeated the Petes 9-5. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

“I'd like to think I'm an exciting, fast offensive player,” said Taylor Hall. “I’m pretty good in my own end. I love to play offense and create opportunities for my teammates.”

Taylor Hall had the exciting opportunity of representing Team Canada at the 2010 World Juniors in Saskatchewan in December. He had a great tournament putting up six goals, six assists for 12 points in six games.

“World Juniors was a tremendous experience for myself,” said Hall.  “Meeting all of the new people and seeing what it’s like to play on an international stage at such a high level. I think it really elevated my play and made me a better player.”

If Edmonton does select Hall first overall, he will likely join familiar face Jordan Eberle, a close teammate of his from the World Juniors.

“Ebs (Jordan Eberle) is a great guy, someone who I'd love to play with,” Hall says. “He's the kind of guy that would elevate my play and maybe I could do the same for him. He's a guy that loves to have the puck on his stick when the game matters. I think that's something you want from a quality player.”
Taylor Hall on Edmonton - “Edmonton is a great city. I played a lot of minor hockey tournaments there when I was a kid. It's a team that I’d like to play for especially because it's a Canadian city. Hopefully during these playoffs I can elevate my play and show them that I'm their guy."

During a Windsor Spitfires game this season, Hall got wind that Oilers President of Hokcey Operations Kevin Lowe and a few other management staff were in the building watching him. He knew that he’d better turn it up to direct their attention his way. That night he had five points, reclaiming the OHL scoring race and moving past the 100-point plateau in an impressive feat.

"I was listening to the National Anthem when Boogie (Windsor head coach Bob Boughner) came and told me that Kevin Lowe and some others were in the building. I knew that they had a good chance of getting a high pick so I just wanted to play well and show them I could be their guy.”

Tyler Seguin (left) faces off against Taylor Hall in Ontario Hockey League action (photo courtesy Plymouth Whalers)


Tyler Seguin Plymouth Whalers OHL

Now for Tyler Seguin. Most would agree that Taylor Hall is playing on a much better junior team that could take the OHL title this year whilst Seguin’s Plymouth Whalers just watched their playoff run come to a quick halt after being swept by Hall and his Windsor Spitfires. That aside each player is still an individual.

“We’re not scouting teams. Hall’s on a team that could win the Ontario League title. Seguin’s team isn’t as deep, but we’re looking at the individuals,” said Gm Steve Tambellini.

Seguin has also had an amazing year gathering 48 goals, 58 assists for 106 points and finished the regular season with a +/- of +17 in 63 games.

“Personally I think that I had a great season,” said Seguin. “. I wanted 50 goals and 50 assists point-wise and I came pretty close to that. Coming in this year I was mainly a play-maker but I wanted to show that I had the complete centre- man package. I wanted to show that I could also score and the main focus was being good in my own end. I think I have improved with that and still working hard on it today.”
Seguin on Edmonton - “I went to Edmonton once when I was nine years old, I played in a hockey tournament in West Edmonton Mall. From what I remember of it, it was a great place with great scenery and a really great mall! It's a Canadian town. There is a great hockey atmosphere there from what I've heard so if I went there I'd be ecstatic.”

Seguin also had his eye on Edmonton recently, making an appearance at one of the Oilers road games.  He says he’d be ecstatic if he had the opportunity to come to Edmonton.

“I went to the Joe Louis Arena a couple weeks ago when Edmonton was playing Detroit and I was actually sitting right behind Edmonton’s bench,” Seguin said. “It was funny because I was picturing myself out there in their uniform and where I’d fit into the lineup. I think if I got the opportunity with that organization that I could hopefully earn a spot.”

Seguin was well aware of the Draft Lottery Tweetup held at Hudsons Canadian Tap House yesterday and thinks it really gives a glimpse of how big of a hockey town Edmonton is.

“It shows the support and the fan base in Edmonton. I know they sell out a lot there. I’ve heard a lot about Edmonton. It’s a great atmosphere in the rink and a great town.

My goal is to make it next year. It is not a dream anymore it’s a goal to play in the National Hockey League. I’m going to work my hardest and if it doesn’t work out then I always have a great organization here to come back to.”
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