There remains considerable speculation as to just who will be the first overall draft pick in this weekend's NHL Entry Draft.
This much we know for sure. Barring a blockbuster trade, the Edmonton Oilers will pick first and the Boston Bruins will pick second. The Oilers will either take left wing Taylor Hall of the Windsor Spitfires or center Tyler Seguin of the Plymouth Whalers. The Bruins are already on record as saying they will simply select whoever Edmonton does not. I almost envy Boston - they're choice is easy.
I will leave the speculation as to who Edmonton should take to others. I have seen neither play other than when Hall was with the Canadian world juniors team. My general impression is that while Seguin may become the better all-around player down the road, it is Hall is more ready right now and may have what it takes to become the game-breaker. It's a tough choice.
Fans in Edmonton must be salivating at the thought of introducing three special young talents (and they're salary cap friendly, too) to their roster next year: Jordan Eberle and Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson (with that name I'm going to nickname his CTRL-V). Adding the two time Memorial Cup champion and two time Memorial Cup MVP in Hall is tempting. At the same time the Oilers biggest upgrade need may be down the middle, and they may never get a shot at a better center than Seguin, who just happens to be the top rated prospect by Central Scouting.
I say this every year, but it remains truer than ever. Even though the Canadian junior leagues have never been better at producing NHL-ready talent, the 18 year old draft is littered with players that don't make it. Can't miss prospects often do, for a variety of reasons.
Only time will tell if Taylor Hall will fulfill the lofty expectations placed upon him. History has already seen another Taylor Hall falter. That Taylor Hall was a junior star out of Regina, and twice it was hoped he would star on the opposite wing with Cam Neely. A terrible knee injury put an end to that.
There was no other Seguin in NHL history, although the name does dust off memories of a former OHL star named Brett Seguin. He was a passing fancy in Ottawa, reminding 67s fans of Andrew Cassels. Even though he was drafted by Los Angeles in 1991, and even though he finished second in OHL scoring in 1992, this Seguin never stood a chance. He was too small for the NHL. He played for years in the lower minor leagues.
The NHL draft is an exciting time for a hopeful future for NHL teams, especially for fans of the Oilers and Bruins this year. But fans should remember not every star prospect pans out.