01/11/2010 12:12 PM - From chicagoblackhawks.com: (link)
Left wing Taylor Hall of the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires has been named the top draft-eligible skater from North America as the NHL Central Scouting Bureau today released its mid-season rankings for the 2010 Entry Draft, June 25-26, at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
Hall, whose award-filled career in Windsor already includes OHL and CHL Rookie of the Year honors in 2007-08 and MVP of the Memorial Cup in 2008-09, is the leader of a dominant Spitfire club that has posted the OHL West's top record (33-5-4).
Last week, Hall was recognized as one of the top three players on Team Canada at the 2010 World Junior Championship in a coaches poll conducted by the International Ice Hockey Federation. Ranking second on Team Canada in scoring with 12 points (six goals, six assists) in six games, Hall was named alongside 2008 NHL first-round draft picks Jordan Eberle and Alex Pietrangelo.
Center Tyler Seguin of the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers earned the No. 2 ranking among North American skaters. Seguin had topped Hall as the leading OHL draft-eligible prospect in Central Scouting's Preliminary Rankings in November.
In addition to their rivalry as top draft prospects, Hall and Seguin are staging a neck-and-neck battle for the OHL scoring lead with identical point totals of 28-39--67. Hall has played 37 games. Seguin has played 39.
Defenseman Cam Fowler, Hall's teammate in Windsor, is rated third among North American skaters. Fowler ranks fifth among OHL defensemen in scoring with 41 points (three goals, 38 assists) in 35 games and was a key member of the United States team that captured the gold medal at the 2010 World Junior Championship last week. Fowler recorded two assists and a +8 rating in eight tournament games.
Joining Hall, Seguin and Fowler among the top North American skaters are No. 4-ranked Brett Connolly, a right wing with the WHL's Prince George Cougars, and No. 5-ranked Riley Sheahan, a freshman center at the University of Notre Dame (CCHA).
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.
Center/left wing Mikael Granlund, who plays for Finnish league club HIFK, is the top-rated European-based player. Granlund is averaging nearly a point per game in his first season in Finland's top league, tallying 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) in 20 games. He also starred for Finland at the 2010 World Junior Championship, leading his club in scoring with 1-6--7 in six games.
Calvin Pickard of the Western Hockey League's Seattle Thunderbirds is the top-rated North American goaltender. Pickard's older brother Chet, a goaltender with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals, was selected by the Nashville Predators in the first round of the 2008 Entry Draft.
The mid-season ranking features the top 210 skaters and 32 goaltenders in North America and top 100 skaters and seven goaltenders from Europe.
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.
The full ranking in all categories is available at NHL.com.
Following are brief profiles on the top three ranked North American Skaters for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft:
Taylor Hall • Windsor (OHL)
6’1” 186 lbs. Left wing, shoots left
Born: November 14, 1991, in Calgary, Alberta Mid-Term
Was a member of the 2008-09 Memorial Cup-winning Windsor Spitfires and was named the tournament MVP... Was the second overall selection in the 2007 OHL Draft by Windsor - Ryan O'Reilly of the Colorado Avalanche was the first overall pick by the Erie Otters ... Played his rookie season in the OHL (2007-08) on a line with current New York Islander Josh Bailey ...
After spending his childhood in Calgary, moved to Kingston, Ont., where he played for the Greater Kingston Predators ... Hockey Night in Canada's Don Cherry, after watching Hall as a 16-year-old in 2007: "The very first time I saw him, I knew he had it. He's got the touch. I've seen them all come up - Sam Gagner, Rick Nash, John Tavares - and this kid's as good as any of them." ... Former NHLer Bob Boughner is his coach in Windsor - at the age of seven, Hall got Boughner's autograph when Boughner was a member of the Calgary Flames ... Hall and his roommate at the 2008 Canadian World Junior selection camp, Colorado's Matt Duchene, were the final cuts of that Canadian team ... Taylor's dad, Steve, played in the Canadian Football League with Ottawa and Winnipeg in the 1980's and later was a member of the Canadian National Bobsledding team.
Tyler Seguin • Plymouth (OHL)
6’1” 180 lbs. Center, shoots right
Born: January 31, 1992, in Brampton, Ontario Mid-Term
At the age of 17 was named one of three rotating captains for the Plymouth Whalers junior team... Was drafted in the first round (ninth overall) of the 2008 OHL Draft by Plymouth ... Seguin on his boyhood idol Steve Yzerman: "Steve Yzerman's definitely been my favorite player growing up and last year I got the honor to meet him and it was a really big privilege. It was definitely a true honor." ... Played for Team Canada at the 2009 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament in the Czech Republic, helping his team to a gold medal with three goals and 10 points in four games ... Also played lacrosse in high school at St. Mike's in Toronto ... His father, Paul, was team captain and a roommate of former NHLer John LeClair at the University of Vermont.
Cam Fowler • Windsor (OHL)
6’2” 195 lbs. Defense, shoots left
Born: December 5, 1991, in Windsor, Ontario
Mid-Term Ranking: 3
Was born in Windsor, Ontario and holds dual citizenship as his family moved to Michigan when he was two years old ... A member of the U.S. team that won the gold medal at the 2010 World Junior Championship, Fowler told the Windsor Star the words he exchanged with Windsor teammate Taylor Hall, a member of Team Canada, in the handshake line after the final game: "I told him he played his heart out and I was proud of him. He told me I played a great game. I'm proud to call them my teammates.” ... In April 2009, helped the U.S. to a gold medal at the Under-18 World Championship and was named the tournament's top defenseman ... Played his youth hockey in the famed Detroit Honeybaked system ... Spent two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program.