Hall gives Oilers top-notch prospect

Updated: June 26, 2010, 1:17 AM ET
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com

LOS ANGELES -- As the NHL draft drew closer, it was evident the Edmonton Oilers would select Taylor Hall with their No. 1 overall pick.

That meant the Boston Bruins would gladly take Tyler Seguin with the second pick, as was the case Friday night at Staples Center. Many NHL general managers and scouts have said both players were extremely close in their abilities, so it really didn't matter which player went first.

Or did it?

"Both these kids are going to be good players in the NHL," said one NHL scout. "Hall is a touch better only because he played in the World Juniors and helped Windsor win two Memorial Cups in a row."

With the Oilers trying to rebuild their organization after finishing last in the NHL this past season, many in the hockey world had a gut feeling Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini would decide Hall was their guy.

"They're not going to fool around," said another scout prior to the draft. "They need to rebuild their franchise and they need to take the best player available. But you never know how they're going to turn out because they're only 18 years old. It's a tough business and you need a little luck along the way. I don't know who Edmonton is going to take, but if I were a betting man, I would say they take Hall no matter what is offered to them."

Tambellini tried his all-out best to acquire Boston's No. 2 pick in order to have both Hall and Seguin in the organization, but what he was offering did not impress Boston GM Peter Chiarelli.

"Both players at [Nos.] 1 and 2 are really good players," Chiarelli said. "They're young and they can grow with the organization from the get-go. We're in a good spot. I couldn't think of many situations, any situations, where I would trade that pick."

The Orr Hockey Group has represented Hall since before his first season in juniors and his representatives are certain he'll make an immediate impact in the NHL next season. Many observers are stumped when asked if Hall reminds them of any current NHL stars, but are quick to point out his unique style and combination of speed and deft scoring touch. His favorite NHL player: Alex Ovechkin.

"Taylor will impress from the first day of training camp and will do very well at the NHL level," said Darren Orr, Hall's agent and the son of Bobby Orr. "He has excelled every season, was successful in big games, won the MVP two years in a row and plays tough on top of everything."

After a year of debate about who was the better player and which one would be selected first, it was Hall in the end.

"There's a lot of significance," Hall said of the top spot. "I feel honored with all the players that have gone No. 1. I came into this year, and that was one of my goals, was to go No. 1. In saying that, there's still a lot of work to do."

Joe McDonald covers the Bruins and Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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