A couple of familiar faces headline this month’s look at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, and as they did even in the early part of the year, one league in particular dominates the top of the class.
1. Taylor Hall LW (Windsor Spitfires, OHL)
6’1 185 lbs
2008-09: 63 GP, 38-52-90, 60 PIM
2009-10: 15 GP, 15-17-32, 10 PIM
Incredibly, Hall hasn’t even been the highest-scoring player his age in the Ontario Hockey League for the majority of the week. That honor went to a player a little further down. Hall remains number one, however, because of how consistently he’s dominated the competition.
The crafty left wing has upped his scoring pace from 1.42 PPG in 2008-09 to 2.13 this season and continues to chug along as a graceful, efficient player in all three zones. Despite scoring at a goal per game pace, Hall is not a pure sniper; rather, he’s a player who manufactures opportunities- even deep in the offensive zone- and gets them into the net however necessary. He’s a proficient garbage goal man andplaymaker, a modern-day Jean Ratelle.
2. Tyler Seguin C (Plymouth Whalers, OHL)
6’1 186 lbs
2008-09: 61 GP, 21-46-67, 28 PIM
2009-10: 13 GP, 15-11-26, 18 PIM
He’s scoring 2 PPG in the OHL, and until this weekend, had a solid lead in the league scoring race. So what does Tyler Seguin do to have earn some respect? Keep it up. Jumping on hype trains is not something we do around here. While Seguin certainly does have a track record- he had the quietest PPG+ season by a 16 year-old last year and was dominant in the playoffs- it remains to be seen if he can maintain his fantastic play.
Seguin is an interesting player. A solid 6’1, his skating and puck protection skills are extremely advanced. At times, he resembles Jaromir Jagr in how he drives down the wing and both out-muscles and out-hustles a defender. Seguin is a natural scorer in how he simply recognizes the best shot in every situation; at times, it’s as if he has some sort of cheat on in NHL 10- a goalie does something, he goes precisely to the place where the keeper’s not.
Seguin has shown a little bit of everything in the scoring department- corner shots, deflections, rebounds, etc. etc. We’re more than willing to jump him into the top spot, but if theOHL kept track of shooting percentage, he’d probably be around 25%. That pace is probably not realistic, but what’s important is whether or not he can keep finding a way to make an impact every night.
3. Cam Fowler D (Windsor Spitfires, OHL)
6’2, 190 lbs
2008-09: 28 GP, 4-18-22, 32 PIM (USNTDP U18s)
2009-10: 15 GP, 2-19-21, 4 PIM
Like the London Knights earlier this decade, it will be very important to keep context in mind when evaluating the statistical output of the Windsor Spitfires. In that regard, look at the curious case of Ryan Ellis and Cam Fowler. Last season, Ellis had the best season offensively by an OHL rearguard since 1997-98. This year, the diminutive dynamo is having a rough start, with just seven games to his name thanks to an injury.
However, the Spits have hardly noticed. Rookie Cam Fowler has seamlessly taken Ellis’ place on Windsor’s top PP unit, racking up the seventh-most points in the league. That translates to 1.4 PPG. When you compare that to Ellis’ draft year- 89 points in 57 games for 1.56 PPG- one must ask if it’s the team and not the player.
While bigger than Ellis- MUCH bigger- and a better skater to boot, Fowler is not a seamless prospect. The American product sometimes plays with too much confidence. A p