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First NHL Goal: Tyler Seguin

I'm glad I got drafted first because no one remembers number two.

-Alexandre Daigle, 1993

The NHL has a long history of All-Star caliber players being selected 2nd overall, and while Daigle may have been right that the general public tends to forget draft ranking over time (aside from first), there have been several number two overalls that have captured the public's conscious, ironically none more famous than the one selected after Daigle, Chris Pronger (though his Hartford Whalers career wasn't too memorable).  In 2008, Drew Doughty had to take a back seat to Steven Stamkos, although there probably should have been a debate.  In 2009, it was a full year of John Tavares vs. Victor Hedman talk, with a late push by Matt Duchesne for good measure.  But after an impressive start, what had been dubbed the Taylor Hall sweepstakes quickly morphed into a full on Taylor vs. Tyler dogfight, with Seguin even leading the Central Scouting rankings at the mid-point last year.  The two players will be forever joined at the hip, and probably even more so since their selection influenced two Canadian franchises.  The Edmonton Oilers finished last, and had to choose between the two, picking Hall.  Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs infamously dealt their first rounder in September 2009 as part of a trade for Phil Kessel of the Boston Bruins.  When the Leafs tanked, the hockey media had quite a story on their hands, and the Bruins were left with the "runner-up" prize. 

So Seguin, bizarrely, got to join a team that finished 1st in the Eastern Conference just a year before, and had made the playoffs the past 3 years, while Hall had to join a rebuilding team that hadn't made the playoffs since losing Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.  The timing of Seguin's arrival couldn't have been better for Boston, who not only lost a lot of offense in dealing Kessel, but lost their top scoring centre to post-concussion syndrome in Marc Savard for a very long period of time.  If not for Savard's injury, there was talk that Seguin might not be able to crack a centre corps that also contained a pair of 2010 Olympians in Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.  When training camp ended, it was clear Seguin had a spot on the team for the start of the season, and Krejci got to play the role of hosts for the team as they started the season in Prague.  Of all the places to score your first NHL goal, O2 Arena in Prague probably didn't come up in Seguin's dreams, but hey, he'll take it.  A shorthanded goal (killing a penalty with a 2-1 lead in the 3rd period of your second NHL game is quite an accomplishment in its own right) where he caught Keith Yandle pinching and snuck past David Schlemko leads us to our second beautiful first NHL goal of the year:

His strong rise in his draft year may lead to some believing he's a bit of a late bloomer, but Seguin has always been a top prospect.  He slipped a bit to 9th overall in the OHL Priority Selection Draft due to not committing to the league at the time, officially stating he was still considering going to the NCAA.  His father, Paul Seguin, was a former captain at the University of Vermont, where he was a roommate of John LeClair.   He had a slow start to his OHL career, so no doubt a goal in his second NHL game was a bit of a welcome relief.  Seguin has been in two highly productive international competitions in his young career:  leading Team Ontario to gold in the World U17 Hockey Challenge in Port Alberni, BC, in 2009, with 11 points in 6 games; and then leading Canada to gold at the 2009 U18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, with a tournament high 10 points in 4 games.  He has yet to represent Canada at an IIHF tournament, failing twice to make the U20 team, which is not unusual even for a player of his prominence at 16 and 17 years old.  His IIHF debut will almost certainly be at a men's tournament, although he is still eligible to play for the U20 team both in 2011 and 2012 if the Bruins release him for the tournament. 

As for Seguin vs. Hall, while it's definitely still early, Seguin is providing the better early returns, though neither has really gotten off to a strong start.  As of the publishing date of this article, Hall has yet to score a goal and just a single assist through 6 games, while Seguin still only has this one goal and a pair of assists to his name.  Reflective of the quality of the teams they are each on, Seguin is getting considerably less ice time than Hall, 3:15 per game less.  In short, it's way too early to make any conclusions about the pick...  we know about as much as we did in June when the pick was made.