Scouts rank Tyler Seguin above Taylor Hall


No pressure, kid.

You have to think that Central Scouting might be re-thinking their top prospects list already, but their most recent list places the beleaguered Tyler Seguin over Taylor Hall according to Here’s the top 20 with the bonus of the always hilariously unfair comparisons to NHL players (He’s the next Mario Lemieux! The next Wayne Gretzky! Uh oh now he got another concussion … )

1. Tyler Seguin, C — Steve Yzerman (retired)
2. Taylor Hall, LW — Zach Parise, Devils
3. Brett Connolly, RW — Peter Forsberg (Sweden)
4. Erik Gudbranson, D — Dion Phaneuf, Maple Leafs
5. Cam Fowler, D — Mike Green, Capitals
6. Brandon Gormley, D — Chris Phillips, Senators
7. Mark Pysyk, D — Duncan Keith, Blackhawks
8. Emerson Etem, RW — Glenn Anderson (retired)
9. Derek Forbort, D — Erik Johnson, Blues
10. Ryan Johansen, C — Jason Spezza, Senators
11. Alexander Burmistrov, C — Maxim Afinogenov, Thrashers
12. Nino Niederreiter, RW — Erik Cole, Hurricanes
13. Nick Bjugstad, C — Andrew Brunette, Wild
14. Austin Watson, F — Kris Draper, Red Wings
15. John McFarland, C — Brenden Morrow, Stars
16. Tyler Toffoli, C — Tim Connolly, Sabres
17. Dylan McIlrath, D — Ed Jovanovski, Coyotes
18. Tyler Pitlick, C — Mark Parrish, Lightning
19. Quinton Howden, C– Todd Bertuzzi, Red Wings
20. Stanislav Galiev, RW — Alexander Frolov, Kings

If I’m Quinton Howden, I might just be bristling at that Bertuzzi comparison. But that’s just me. Then again, I might prefer that comparison than being called the next Steve Yzerman or Peter Forsberg (no pressure, kid). The story mentions the fact that – barring injury – Brett Connolly would probably be in the No. 1 pick conversation (a talented but oft-injured player named Connolly? You don’t say.).

Speaking of that conversation, Hall’s Windsor Spitfires have a 3-0 series lead over the Plymouth Whalers and Seguin, who is still pointless in the series. Now, hopefully one series won’t decide how scouts view the path of an entire career, but then again if the race really is close enough that the two could be “flip flopped” (like E.J. McGuire said) then perhaps the series could swing the whole thing.

Then again, a lot can happen between now and June 25.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.