Oilers Pick at 1: Taylor Hall

Ranked: 1 (ISS, Redline, Bob McKenzie)

Bob McKenzie: What else is there to say that hasn’t already been said? Taylor Hall skates like the wind, absolutely fearless, takes the puck to the net with equal amounts of skill and recklessness and does nothing but score big goals and win hockey games and championships. What’s not to like? The only concern, and it’s a growing sentiment, is that Hall’s fearlessness/recklessness puts him in harm’s way too often and that he takes an incredible physical beating at the junior level, leaving himself vulnerable to big hits and potential injury. If he doesn’t adjust his game in the NHL, some wonder if his frame, which isn’t big by pro standards, will be able to stand up to the wear and tear. All that said, he’s the prospect voted by scouts as most ready to step into the NHL.

Redline: Hall is the more dynamic and explosive game breaker and has shown a consistent (and rare) ability to elevate his game at the biggest moments on the biggest stage. That puts him in a special category that not many players occupy.

Director of Central Scouting E.J. McGuire: When you talk about Hall, you talk about quickness, acceleration and hands. Easily and arguably, could have actually been our No. 1 pick overall. Taylor has done it all; he’s the reigning MVP of the Memorial Cup tournament and has played on two medal-winning world championship teams.

Windsor Spitfires head coach Bob Boughner: Taylor is a dynamic skater who is fearless when he goes to the net. He is very difficult to knock off the puck once he gets it and his hunger for the puck is special. He reminds me of Pavel Bure. Taylor’s desire to be the best is also very unique and has also contributed to his success, and made him the great player that he is.

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