Making the pitch for Hall

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:27 PM ET

BRANDON — There is no question in Bob Boughner’s mind that Taylor Hall should go first overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

None whatsoever.

“One-hundred percent,” said Boughner, the head coach of the Windsor Spitfires.

While most believe it’s a coin flip between Hall and Plymouth Whalers centre Tyler Seguin (who finished first among North American skaters in the final Central Scouting rankings), Boughner makes a strong case — all bias aside.

“(Hall) is a champion, he’s won everything you can win up until this level,” said Boughner. “He competes, he wants to be a difference-maker. He’s one of those guys who rises to the occasion in big games. Why wouldn’t you want him?”

Nobody is questioning whether or not Hall would be a good choice at No. 1, but since franchise centre’s are tough to find and because of that, some think the Edmonton Oilers might be leaning toward Seguin.

When that theory was posed, Boughner provided some additional food for thought.

“Taylor is a centre naturally, he’s playing left wing on our team but he’ll take some draws once in a while and he’s good on draws,” said Boughner. “I don’t doubt that if he goes to the next level and they need a centre, he could play centre as well. He’s pretty strong on the puck.

“The reason I put him on the wing is to conserve his energy and expose other teams wide because he has that speed.”

Boughner expects Hall to make a smooth transition to the NHL and eventually grow into a franchise player.

“In my four years of junior, I’ve seen certain guys come through the league — the Pat Kane’s of the world — and guys like that come through and dominate at the next level,” said Boughner. “I definitely think Taylor is going to be one of those guys.”

As for the scouting reports that suggest Hall might be lacking on the defensive side of things, Spitfires defenceman Cam Fowler was quick to refute the accusation.

“I don’t think that’s true at all,” said Fowler, who is projected to go in the Top-5 himself. “We all have our weaknesses and we continue to work at them. One of the underrated things about Taylor’s game is his ability to penalty kill. He’s one of the main guys and even when he’s out there killing penalties, he’s still a threat to score.”

ken.wiebe@sunmedia.ca


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