April Mock

Dobber Sports

2010-04-03

(Tyler Seguin and Taylor Hall in OHL playoff action. Photo Credit: Windsor Star)

 

The CHL playoffs are getting good with the top two prospects facing off head-to-head in the OHL semi-finals. How is the rest of the top thirty fairing?

 

1. Edmonton Oilers- LW Taylor Hall (Windsor OHL)

The good news: the Edmonton Oilers finally clinched something. The bad news: what they clinched was last place in the entire NHL. While that doesn’t assure them of the first overall pick, the Oilers now have the best odds of winning the 2010 Draft Lottery on April 13th and can pick no later than second.

The choice is and remains obvious. Windsor Spits star Taylor Hall has continued his torrid scoring pace into the playoffs, and leads the OHL in playoff goals with eight in just five games. Most casual observers will point to a talent disparity between Windsor and Plymouth as the reason Hall has twelve points in five games and Tyler Seguin has ten in six, but both teams are clicking at over 4.5 goals per game.

2. Boston Bruins (from Toronto)- C Tyler Seguin (Plymouth OHL)

Although just three points separate the Maple Leafs from the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers in the fight for second-last, it’s a battle that’s likely over. Toronto had just four games left on their schedule to leap-frog the teams ahead of them, and can finish no better than 23rd even if they were to win all of their remaining contests and see every team above them lose.

As such, the Bruins can be reasonably assured that their pick will be a very good one. A team formerly quite blessed at center, Marc Savard’s potentially career-crippling concussion and Patrice Bergeron’s failure to step up in his absence means the team could use further depth at center. That rearguard Cam Fowler has played some of his worst hockey at the worst time also makes this an easier choice for the Bruins. Seguin lacks Hall’s grit and desire in traffic, but his skills are elite and he may prove to be the better point producer of the two at the next level.

3. Tampa Bay Lightning- D Cam Fowler (Windsor OHL)

Despite a fearsome one-two punch of Steve Stamkos and Victor Hedman plus upper-tier veterans Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, as their current position indicates, the Tampa Lightning need a great many things at many positions. It may be another two years before the team seriously challenges for a playoff berth and  this pick will simply be a drop in the bucket. If they remain in the 3rd spot- or, in the worst case, drop- there are numerous options. GM (for now) Brian Lawton has the option of supplementing his forward talent and getting back to the kind of offense that won the franchise their only Cup.

But building from the blueline out is the mantra of a great many championship teams, and there are two defenders worthy of consideration in the top five. Cam Fowler may seem to be hanging to a top three position on name alone, but as we always say, it’s more pertinent to examine a full season of work rather than a brief bad run. Fowler isn’t the biggest, fastest or most skilled rearguard available in the first round but he’s the only one who is above-average in almost every facet. A muffin pointshot is still a major worry and Fowler will never be more than a slick puck distributor until he solves that, but Sheldon Souray didn’t hone his until later. When that’s the most you have to worry about, you’re doing good.

4. Florida Panthers- C/RW Vladimir Tarasenko (Sibir KHL)