This has been talked to death around the various Oilers blogs, so I'm not gonna continue with an overly long post here. But to start my top 40, I might as well post a couple Hall/Seguin thoughts, as these two players seem to constitute the first tier of talent in the 2010 draft.
Taylor Hall was the favorite to go #1 overall at the start of this season, and is still the player favoured by most scouting agencies. He has a fierce determination to win puck battles. He is a fantastic skater, fun to watch, and often described as "dynamic" and "explosive"
. I don't know how much weight I put into a player being "clutch", but Hall is the kind of guy who might convert skeptics. He certainly hasn't had any trouble producing in "big games" so far in his career. Taylor has the reputation of being a better goal scorer, though in fact Seguin scored more goals this past season. I suppose there might be some concerns that the player has stagnated, but I'm not sure how well founded they are given the increase in his offensive production, season over season. His goalscoring certainly hasn't increased, it has been more or less flat over his 3 OHL seasons, but his assist totals have steadily risen. Hall is sometimes knocked in terms of hockey sense, relative to Seguin, but then again I would guess that pretty good hockey sense would be a needed for a player to be able to lead a league like the OHL in assists. Some observers suggest that there is a nagging question regarding Hall's projected long-term health, given his (reckless?) style of play. I'm not sure exactly how much one should worry about that, but I do agree it's something to consider.
Seguin was slated to be a first rounder in 2010 draft, at this time last year, but he has climbed the charts considerably since. Most accounts suggest a cerebral player with great hockey IQ, capable of making the players around him better. He differs from Hall in that Seguin is seen to be more calculating and methodical in assessing a given play than Hall. That is, Seguin prefers to wait for an opening while Hall tries to create the opening. I have some reservations
about Seguin's huge offensive spike this season. I certainly wouldn't suggest that Seguin's season is simply the product of an unsustainable shooting percentage spike, but he did increase from 21 to 47 goals, and as I have no shot data I don't think it unreasonable to at least wonder what's going on. Seguin is supposed to be the better playmaker, though in fact Hall had more assists. However, that may not be too surprising given that Windsor scored 86 more goals than Plymouth this past season.
Choosing between these two players is probably more difficult than the decision at #1 most years, and is interesting because there are so many different ways to compare these players. Center vs. Wing (although both have played a bit of both)? Upside vs. Established level of Talent? 3 years junior vs. 2 years junior?
Personally, all else equal, I generally prefer a center over a wing, and the player with better hockey sense, which would appear to be Seguin. But with Hall, I think there's simply too much proven to ignore. Seguin may end up the better player, but he may not, and the general consensus seems to be that Hall's downside is higher than Seguin's.
1) Taylor Hall
2) Tyler Seguin
That said, if the Oilers go with Seguin, I think the pick is defensible. If the Oilers pass on Hall, they must see one heck of a player in Seguin. I don't know that either one is well clear of the other, so given the right offer, moving down could be reasonable even if you don't get the guy at the top of your list, or if you aren't really sure which guy heads your list. I do however think there's probably a slight separation here, if not a major one. Of course, since BOS probably also has them rated fairly evenly, it wouldn't surprise me if they aren't terribly willing to pay much to secure whichever player they prefer. Additionally, Hall is the easier pick to sell, and while that's not necessarily a good reason to pick him, if all else is equal, you have to use something to break the tie.