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Tyler Seguin rated No. 1 prospect for NHL entry draft

April 7, 2010 | 11:43 am

The NHL's annual entry draft will be held at Staples Center June 25-26, and the first name called could very well be that of center Tyler Seguin of the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League.

The NHL's Central Scouting Bureau released its draft rankings Wednesday, and Seguin was rated No. 1 among North American players. He had been rated second at the midseason rankings behind left wing Taylor Hall of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires.

The two are considered just about equal, and they finished the OHL regular season tied for most points, each with 106. 

The NHL will hold a draft drawing Tuesday to determine the order of selection among the nonplayoff teams. 

Joining Seguin and Hall among the top North American skaters is another highly skilled forward: No. 3-ranked Brett Connolly (Prince George, British Columbia) of the Western Hockey League’s Prince George Cougars. An injury-plagued season limited Connolly to just 16 games, but the right-winger still managed to score 10 goals and averaged more than a point per game (10-9-19). Connolly was ranked fourth in the midterm rankings.

Rounding out the top six are a trio of talented defensemen: No.4-ranked Erik Gudbranson (Orleans, Ontario) of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs; No.5-ranked Cam Fowler (Northville, Michigan) a member of the gold-medal-winning U.S. team at the 2010 World Junior Championships and Hall’s teammate in Windsor; and No.6-ranked Brandon Gormley (Murray River, PEI) of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Moncton Wildcats.

Forward Mikael Granlund of the Finnish league club HIFK is the top-rated European-based player. Granlund averaged nearly a point per game in his first season in Finland's top league, tallying 40 points (13 goals, 27 assists) in 43 games.

Calvin Pickard of the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League is the top-ranked North American goaltender.

-- Helene Elliott