Memorial Cup a pre-draft showcase

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:12 PM ET

BRANDON — The 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup is the final showcase for a select group of top prospects.

Attracting high-end talent is a given in the annual battle for junior hockey supremacy, but this year’s event features the potential first-overall pick, along with a pair of talented defencemen who could go in the Top-5.

“It’s a very cool thing to think about,” said Windsor Spitfires forward Taylor Hall, a prime candidate to go No. 1 to the Edmonton Oilers. “It’s going to fun to play with (and against) these guys.”

Tyler Seguin was ranked first among North American skaters in the final 2010 Central Scouting rankings, with Hall placing a close second. There’s still no clear-cut choice.

Hall’s Ontario Hockey League teammate, Cam Fowler, was rated fifth, while Brandon Gormley of the Moncton Wildcats is ranked sixth but his stock continues to rise.

“You have to elevate your game, for sure,” said Gormley. “I know there’s going to be a lot of people watching. It’s a good opportunity for not just myself, but everyone, to kind of make a name for themselves. These events always bring out the best players and it’s a good opportunity for each player to show what they’ve got.”

Hall is already looking forward to the draft, but he’s also thought about the possibility of capturing consecutive Memorial Cups before his name is called in Los Angeles.

“I’ve never been to L.A. and I hear it’s a good spot — I’m really excited about it,” said Hall. “It’s really fun coming back here (to the Memorial Cup), I have an opportunity to do something not a lot of draft-eligible guys have done and not a lot of teams have done.

“The only time I think about (the draft) is when the media asks me about it. In all honesty, I’m here as a Spitfire. I want to go out a winner and I want to go out a champion.”

Hall was actually selected 89th overall by Ak Bars Kazan of Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League last year.

“That was funny, they didn’t even call me or anything,” said Hall. “It was weird. Maybe it was just a jab at Canadian junior hockey.”

Hall had his first chance to impress scouts Friday night against the host Brandon Wheat Kings, while Gormley is in action Saturday afternoon against the Calgary Hitmen.


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