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McKenzie: Examining the logic behind Central Scouting rankings

Bob McKenzie
4/7/2010 7:07:58 PM
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With Taylor Hall and the Windsor Spitfires running roughshod over Tyler Seguin and the Plymouth Whalers in the OHL playoffs, some may be confused at how NHL Central Scouting has Seguin ranked No. 1 ahead of Hall on the final rankings for the 2010 draft.

While it's clear Hall has outplayed Seguin in this latest head to head meeting, scouts are charged with identifying the best prospects for the future - not necessary the best player right now.

And by virtue of the No. 1 ranking, NHL central scouting has effectively tabbed Seguin as the best future consideration.

That's probably a minority opinion with scouts who work for NHL teams, but it's not out of left field by any means. I know for a fact that at least a couple of teams which will pick in the Top 10 of the draft have Seguin rated ahead of Hall.

The point is, in spite of how the OHL playoffs have unfolded - with Hall and the Spitfires dominating Seguin and the Whalers - it's very close between these top two elite prospects. There's no slam dunk for No. 1 this year.

Perhaps the bigger surprise is Windsor defenceman Cam Fowler dropping to No. 5 on the final list.

Fowler ranks behind Prince George forward Brett Connolly, who has been injured much of the season but is playing for Canada at the Under-18 world championship next week. Kingston defenceman Erik Gudbranson, who will also play in the Under-18, is ranked fourth.

Fowler has been the consensus No. 1 defenceman for most of the season, but Gudbranson has eclipsed him in the eyes of Central Scouting and some but not all NHL team scouts.

Gudbranson plays a harder, physical game but many club team scouts still have Fowler as the No. 1 blueliner.

TSN will come out with a new Top 10 ranking on Monday - the day before the NHL draft lottery.

Bob McKenzie

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