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NHL Central Scouting names forward Taylor Hall North America's best draft-eligible skater

Team Canada's Taylor Hall jumps to the boards following scoring during second period semifinal world junior hockey championship action versus Team Switzerland in Saskatoon, Sask., Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe

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Team Canada's Taylor Hall jumps to the boards following scoring during second period semifinal world junior hockey championship action versus Team Switzerland in Saskatoon, Sask., Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe

NEW YORK - Forward Taylor Hall was named North America's top draft-eligible skater in a mid-season list of prospects published by the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau on Monday.

That placed him one spot ahead of rival Tyler Seguin, who is battling Hall for the Ontario Hockey League's scoring lead.

Hall, a decorated 18-year-old with the Windsor Spitfires, was ranked behind Seguin in a preliminary list released in November. Defenceman Cam Fowler, another member of the dominant Windsor team, is ranked third among North American skaters, with forwards Brett Connolly (Prince George, WHL) and Riley Sheahan (University of Notre Dame) ranked fourth and fifth, respectively.

Mikael Granlund, a forward playing with HIFK in the Finnish league, was named the top European prosect in the list, which was released by the NHL on Monday.

Hall was named Memorial Cup MVP for leading the Spitfires to the title last year, having been named the Canadian Hockey League's rookie of the year a season earlier. The six-foot-one, 186-pound left-winger was named in a coaching poll as one of Team Canada's top three players at the world junior championships earlier this month in Saskatchewan.

"The very first time I saw him, I knew he had it," Hockey Night in Canada personality Don Cherry said in a statement. "He's got the touch.

"I've seen them all come up - Sam Gagner, Rick Nash, John Tavares - and this kid's as good as any of them."

The NHL Entry Draft will be held in Los Angeles at the Staples Centre on June 25-26 for the first time.

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