Taylor Hall entered the 2010 NHL Entry Draft as the top-ranked prospect by Central Scouting. But when all is said and done, Tyler Seguin may turn out to be the prize of the event.
Hall was selected first overall by Edmonton and often has displayed the talent that the Oilers expected to see from him. The left wing from Calgary eclipsed the 20-goal mark in three of his four full seasons and recorded a career-high 80 points in 2013-14, but he has been unable to remain healthy.
The 23-year-old Hall has yet to play an entire campaign, coming closest when he appeared in 45 of Edmonton’s 48 games during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. He was limited to 53 contests this past campaign, when he registered career lows of 14 goals and 38 points.
Despite his injuries, Hall is averaging 0.88 points per game over his five NHL seasons. Had he not missed 77 contests in that span, his numbers likely would be much more impressive.
The Boston Bruins owned the second pick in 2010 and used it on Seguin, who joined Hall as co-winners of the 2009-10 Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy as the Ontario Hockey League’s leading scorers. Both youngsters finished with 106 points, but Seguin scored 48 goals for the Plymouth Whalers — eight more than Hall netted for Windsor Spitfires.
Seguin struggled to adapt to the NHL as a rookie in 2010-11, notching 11 goals and 11 assists in 74 games. He gained invaluable experience in the playoffs, however, collecting three tallies and seven points after being a healthy scratch for the first two rounds to help Boston win the Stanley Cup.
That likely helped him avoid the dreaded sophomore jinx, as the 23-year-old center led the Bruins with 29 goals and 67 points the following season. Seguin finished 2012-13 with 32 points in 48 games, but added only eight in 22 postseason contests as Boston again reached the Cup Final but lost to the Chicago Blackhawks.
The lack of playoff scoring earned Seguin plenty of criticism from the media. It also may have earned him a ticket out of Beantown, as the native of Brampton, Ontario was shipped to the Dallas Stars in a seven-player trade on July 4, 2013.
The fireworks in Dallas actually took place several days later, when a homophobic message was sent from Seguin’s Twitter account. He denied sending it, claiming a hacker sabotaged his account, which he subsequently shut down.
Things were much better on the ice for Seguin in his first campaign with the Stars. The 23-year-old shattered his career highs by registering 37 goals and 84 points, which ranked him fourth in the league in scoring.
Averaging 0.80 points in his career, Seguin was just as impressive for Dallas last season, again netting 37 goals while finishing with 77 points in 71 contests. He has become a force on the power play, scoring 11 man-advantage goals in 2013-14 and 13 the following campaign, while totaling 13 game-winning tallies since joining the Stars.
It certainly has helped Seguin to be playing on a line with captain Jamie Benn, who also has benefited from the pairing as he set career highs with 35 goals and 87 points en route to the Art Ross Trophy last season. But make no mistake — Seguin is an extremely talented forward with many more superb campaigns ahead of him and could end his career as the class of the 2010 draft.