Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Seguin and Hackett lead the Whalers

Courtesy Plymouth Whalers

Plymouth Whalers center Tyler Seguin wanted to get off to a good start this season.

His good start has catapulted him to the top of the National Hockey League’s Central Scouting Preliminary Rankings among OHL players for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, held June 25-26, 2010 in Los Angeles.

Plymouth defenseman Austin Levi checks in at #24 and Whalers goaltender Scott Wedgewood is rated sixth among OHL goaltenders in the preliminary rankings.

Even missing a few games because of a lower-body injury hasn’t clouded Seguin’s good start (19 goals and 17 assists for 36 points in 18 games) in the eyes of NHL scouts.

"Tyler Seguin has had a great start to the season," Central Scouting's Chris Edwards told NHL.com. "He has been producing and playing consistently well. He makes things happen every time he is on the ice and he makes his teammates better."

Seguin (pictured), Windsor left wing Taylor Hall and Spitfire defenseman Cam Fowler has gone 1-2-3 all season long among OHL players up for the NHL Entry Draft.

"Hall is a proven player, he won the Memorial Cup MVP last year and for good reason," Edwards said. "Both of these players (Seguin and Hall) will be very good pros."

Central Scouting annually ranks the top 25 skaters and top six goaltenders for the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Western Hockey League and United States Hockey League, which now includes the United States National Team Development Program.

And while Seguin, Levi and Wedgewood are going through the NHL Draft, Whalers goaltender Matt Hackett continues to be the glue around Plymouth’s success.

Drafted in the third round (77th overall) by the Minnesota Wild in the 2009 National Hockey League Entry Draft, Hackett has picked up the pace from October on.

In October, Hackett posted a 2.53 goals against average and .928 percentage in 11 games and was named Canadian Hockey League Goaltender of the Week for the week ending October 25.
He’s been even better in early November, posting a 2.00 GAA and .953 save percentage through five games.

It’s obvious that Hackett is playing with a lot of confidence this season.

“I felt I had a great year last year,” he said Tuesday. “I went to Minnesota and they said they loved everything about me. They were impressed with how I played (at training camp) and they gave me a shot to play in an NHL exhibition game, so it gave me a lot of confidence knowing they have that much confidence in me.

“Coming in here (this year), I wanted to show the boys that I was ready to play. We’re going to make a push for the playoffs this year and (I feel) we’re going to go deep in the playoffs.”

Hackett wants to be named to Team Canada for the upcoming World Junior Championships, held in Regina and Saskatoon, SK from December 26-January 5.

“It’s a big goal of mine,” he admitted. “Since I’ve been a kid, I’ve been watching the World Junior Championships at Christmas time. It’s always in the back of my mind, obviously. I want to make big saves at key times. I want to win games right now and prove to them (Hockey Canada) that I can play on that team.”

Watch the Whalers and you’ll see how hard Hackett’s teammates work for him.

“They’re just a bunch of great guys,” Hackett said. “We all get along and we’re all good friends here. We all want to make each other better. We all work hard for each other and in the end, that’s how we win games.”

Photo by Walt Dmoch

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