The guessing game is over. Taylor Hall is an Edmonton Oiler.
General manager Steve Tambellini kept the first overall pick in Friday night's NHL entry draft and selected the Ontario Hockey League star left-winger.
The 18-year-old Hall played an integral part in the Windsor Spitfires' run to a Memorial Cup championship in 2009.
Hall helped Windsor repeat the feat this year and won his second consecutive Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as the tournament's MVP.
|League||No. of players|
|U.S. high schools||3|
|U.S. nat. dev. team||3|
|Eastern Jr. (EJHL)||1|
"They're such a great franchise with so much history behind them," said Hall of the Oilers. "With the five [Stanley] Cups they won, it will mean a lot to me to join their organization and hopefully bring another one up there."
The Boston Bruins chose Plymouth Whalers centre Tyler Seguin with the second pick. That selection was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Phil Kessel trade.
Seguin, 18, won the Red Tilson Trophy as the OHL's outstanding player after recording 106 points in 63 games this past season, tied with Hall for tops in the league.
No. 1 entering draft
The Brampton, Ont., native was the top-ranked North American heading into the draft, according to NHL Central Scouting.
"I don't think it matters who goes first overall," Seguin said. "I'm just excited to be here and to be going to Boston. I'm sure the rivalry will continue if we're both in the NHL next year, but we both respect each other. We're good buddies, and that isn't going to change."
With the exception of settling for silver with Canada at the 2010 world junior hockey tournament, championships have followed Hall.
He has tremendous speed, which makes him an offensive force and a dangerous penalty killer, and possesses a good attitude and is willing to work on his defensive game.
Hall is the fourth straight OHL player chosen No. 1, following Patrick Kane, Steven Stamkos, and John Tavares. Those three picks are working out quite well, and Hall believes he can join the Oilers' young core to return respectability to the struggling club.
"I feel honoured with all the players that have gone No. 1," Hall said. "When I came into this year, that was one of my goals, was to go No. 1. In saying that, there's still a lot of work to do out here."
In Edmonton, Hall will join another junior standout, Jordan Eberle of the Regina Pats, who won the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy as the Western Hockey League's player of the year in 2009-10.
Eberle, who finished the season in the American Hockey League with the Springfield Falcons, scored clutch goals in back-to-back world junior championships for Canada, but the Regina native was also a big producer for his hometown Pats with 50 goals and 106 points in 57 regular-season games.
New Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon stepped to the podium at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and quickly made his selection, Kingston Frontenacs defenceman Erik Gudbranson, who went third overall.
"It's where I wanted to be ever since the [NHL] combine," said Gudbranson, a physical defenceman with a big shot. "I know there's a lot of work ahead, but it feels pretty great."
The Columbus Blue Jackets had the No. 4 overall selection and picked centre Ryan Johansen of the WHL's Portland Winter Hawks.
Another Winter Hawk, left-winger Nino Niederreiter, rounded out the top five, going to the New York Islanders.
Niederreiter, a hero at the recent world junior tournament, becomes the highest-drafted Swiss player in NHL history. Michel Riesen went 14th overall in 1997. The Islanders already have defenceman Mark Streit, the only NHL all-star from Switzerland, as a club cornerstone.
Niederreiter scored with 32.3 seconds left in regulation and also in overtime to lead Switzerland to a 3-2 victory over Russia in the world junior quarter-final.
Just the first round of the draft was scheduled for Friday. The final six rounds are Saturday.
2010 NHL draft (1st round)
|1||Edmonton||Taylor Hall||LW||Windsor (OHL)|
|2||Boston||Tyler Seguin||C||Plymouth (OHL)|
|3||Florida||Erik Gudbranson||D||Kingston (OHL)|
|4||Columbus||Ryan Johansen||C||Portland (WHL)|
|5||NY Islanders||Nino Niederreiter||LW||Portland (WHL)|
|6||Tampa Bay||Brett Connolly||RW||Prince George (WHL)|
|7||Carolina||Jeff Skinner||C||Kitchener (OHL)|
|8||Atlanta||Alex Burmistrov||C||Barrie (OHL)|
|9||Dallas||Mikael Granlund||C||HIFK Helsinki|
|10||NY Rangers||Dylan McIlrath||D||Moose Jaw (WHL)|
|11||Dallas||Jack Campbell||G||USA U-18|
|12||Anaheim||Cam Fowler||D||Windsor (OHL)|
|13||Phoenix||Brandon Gormley||D||Moncton (QMJHL)|
|14||St. Louis||Jaden Schwartz||C||Tri-City (USHL)|
|15||Los Angeles (from Florida)||Derek Forbort||D||USA U-18|
|16||St. Louis (from Ottawa)||Vladimir Tarasenko||RW||Novosibirsk, Russia|
|17||Colorado||Joey Hishon||C||Owen Sound (OHL)|
|18||Nashville||Austin Watson||LW||Peterborough (OHL)|
|19||Florida (from Los Angeles)||Nick Bjugstad||C||Blaine High School|
|20||Pittsburgh||Beau Bennett||RW||Penticton (BC Jr. league)|
|21||Detroit||Riley Sheahan||C||Notre Dame (CCHA)|
|22||Montreal (from Phoenix)||Jarred Tinordi||D||USA U-18|
|23||Buffalo||Mark Pysyk||D||Edmonton (WHL)|
|24||Chicago||Kevin Hayes||RW||Noble/Greenough H.S.|
|25||Florida (from Vancouver)||Quinton Howden||LW||Moose Jaw (WHL)|
|26||Washington||Evgeny Kuznetsov||C||Chelyabinsk (KHL)|
|27||Phoenix||Mark Visentin||G||Niagara (OHL)|
|28||San Jose||Charlie Coyle||RW||South Shore (EJHL)|
|29||Anaheim||Emerson Etem||C||Medicine Hat (WHL)|
|30||NY Islanders (from Chicago)||Brock Nelson||C||Warroad (USHS)|