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Edmonton makes Hall No. 1 in NHL draft

Photo by Daniel Kay

Photo by Daniel Kay

LOS ANGELES -- The Edmonton Oilers selected forward Taylor Hall with the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft on Friday, finally ending a yearlong debate about the two best 18-year-old prospects in hockey.

The league-worst Oilers chose Hall over fellow OHL forward Tyler Seguin on Friday, making the toughest call at the top of a draft in several years.

"They're such a great franchise with so much history behind them," Hall said. "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."

While Hall will go to a rebuilding club, the playoff-tested Boston Bruins eagerly grabbed Seguin moments later with the No. 2 pick.

Many NHL scouts and executives couldn't choose a favorite between Hall, a physical left wing from the Windsor Spitfires, and Seguin, a smooth-skating center from the Plymouth Whalers. Seguin was the league MVP last season, and Hall was the playoff MVP while leading the Spitfires to the Memorial Cup.

"I think everyone has their own opinion," Seguin said. "We've seen it all year with whatever scouting service there may be. Edmonton decided to select Hall first overall, and good for him. He deserves it. And I'm happy to be a Bruin."

Just the first round of the draft was scheduled for Staples Center on Friday. The final six rounds are today.

Florida selected Kingston defenseman Erik Gudbranson with the third pick.

Thrashers pick Burmistrov: The Atlanta Thrashers added speed to their list of prospects by selecting Russian center Alexander Burmistrov with the eighth pick of the NHL draft.

Burmistrov, known for his speed on the ice, moved from Russia to play for the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League this year. He had 22 goals and 43 assists in 62 games. He helped lead Barrie to the OHL finals with eight goals and eight assists in the playoffs.

The Thrashers added size when trading for Chicago Blackhawks forward Dustin Byfuglien this week, but the 18-year-old Burmistrov (5-10, 172) uses speed as his strength.