The debate has raged from the moment the Edmonton Oilers snagged the first-overall pick in Friday’s NHL entry draft. It’s a rare opportunity to pick first – a chance to draft an impact player that will, in theory, help turn around the fortunes of a team that’s missed the playoffs for three straight seasons.
Of course, there’s more to making the right pick than simply following Central Scouting’s final draft rankings. Just ask the Atlanta Thrashers, who selected Patrik Stefan first-overall (ahead of the Sedin brothers) in the 1999 NHL draft. The Oilers brass, led by GM Steve Tambellini and head scout Stu MacGregor, will have spent hundreds of hours evaluating and discussing the different options. It’s no secret the decision will ultimately come down to two talented Canadian players out of the Ontario Hockey league – winger Taylor Hall and centre Tyler Seguin.
The majority of hockey writers seem to believe two-time Memorial Cup MVP Taylor Hall will hear his name called first. We asked you, our BT Edmonton viewers, to let us know who you’d pick if the call was yours. With a team-autographed Oilers sweater up for grabs, the votes poured in throughout Friday’s show.
Overall, exactly 60% of respondents went with Taylor Hall. The numbers fluctuated, though, depending on the source. Support for Hall was higher from those who voted via www.BreakfastTelevision.ca (64%), while Tyler Seguin was tops (52%) with voters who checked in via www.Twitter.com/RyanJespersen.
Much like the 2004 NHL Entry Draft that featured two high-profile Russians (do you remember which ones?), it’s believed both Hall and Seguin will develop into stars for whoever drafts them in whichever order. Hall has the winning pedigree and “X-factor” while Seguin has the size, skill and playmaking ability down the middle. Only time will tell which player was more deserving of the first-overall selection. Congratulations to Mark St. James, the winner of our autographed Oilers sweater. Keep it locked on BT weekday mornings between 6-9am for more chances to win!