TSN has unveiled its mock draft on the eve of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft in Los Angeles, and it features forward Taylor Hall of the Windsor Spitfires walking to the podium this evening as the first overall selection of the Edmonton Oilers.
Watch first round coverage of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft on TSN, TSN HD, TSN.ca and the TSN iPhone App at 7pm et/4pm pt.
Hall is part of the exciting Taylor-Tyler debate that has hijacked this year's draft. The hockey world has wondered aloud whether it will be Hall or Tyler Seguin of the Plymouth Whalers going with that No.1 selection. TSN's experts lean toward it being Hall.
"He's a franchise-builder, the kind of guy who can get a new building built in Edmonton," said TSN hockey analyst Pierre McGuire. "He'll make everyone there better."
As part of TSN's NHL Draft Countdown Special show, McGuire and fellow analyst Craig Button took turns playing the roles of the various general managers of the 30 teams choosing players in the first round of Friday's draft.
They had Seguin going to the Boston Bruins in the No. 2 spot.
"If there was ever a case to move back, the Bruins have such depth at centre -- this would be it, yet he is too good a player to pass up," said Button. "He may be Boston's No. 1 centre within two years."
Erik Gudbranson, the Kingston Frontenacs defender known for his physicality, was their third choice going to the Florida Panthers. They had the Blue Jackets taking winger Brett Connolly (Prince George Cougars) fourth overall, a player who has had a hip injury that has some teams nervous.
"I'm basing it on him being healthy," said Button of Connolly. "We may be talking about him with Hall and Seguin in the top three if he was totally healthy and played a complete year last season."
TSN's mock draft projects the Islanders taking Moncton defenceman Brandon Gormly fifth overall, with McGuire and Button calling him the most consistent player in the draft.
This mock draft didn't have any of the other Canadian teams selecting Canadian prospects. The next Canadian team to draft will be selecting 16th, where the Ottawa Senators were projected to add scoring by drafting centre Jaden Schwartz of Tri-City in the USHL. Vancouver will pick 25th, and the Canucks are projected to take Minnesota State centre Tyler Pitlick. The Canadiens are up 27th, and this mock draft pencils in one of the few Russian players in the draft: winger Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Toronto does not have a pick in the first round after trading it to the Boston Bruins in the Phil Kessel deal. Phoenix's 13th overall pick was acquired from Calgary in the trade for Olli Jokinen.
Another notable mention in the mock draft is Portland winger Nino Niederreiter, who is predicted to go ninth overall to the Minnesota Wild. At that spot, he would be the highest Swiss-born player ever drafted into the NHL.