Winter 2009: NR
Summer 2010: #1
Winter 2010: #1
Taylor Hall is an exceptional talent. There are times now (at game 20) where you can actually anticipate that he’s going to do something special. 19 years old, 20 games in. Hold on. He’s even beginning to show up in good places without the puck and has tremendous desire and work ethic.
How high will he fly? He may never reach the ground.
Baseball man Ken Singleton used to talk about the point each spring when baseball prospects turned into suspects. He’d say, “this is about the time you write home to Mom and Dad about the pitchers starting to throw the curveball.” Offspeed pitches (and offspeed deliveries) are designed to upset timing in the batter’s box and it is the most powerful weapon in any pitcher’s arsenal. How do we know? If pitchers threw only fastballs, we’d all know about more about Jim Breazeale.
Midway through pre-season, NHL teams begin to tighten up their defense and send down the also rans and never were’s along the blue. Once opening night came along this fall, there weren’t many defensemen in the league who you could consider subpar (and most of them were Oilers). Adjusting to the size, speed and toughness of the game is a process for any young player, and especially difficult for teenagers coming out of junior. Hall is unlikely to win the Calder, but this is a marathon not a sprint. His first 20gp: 4-5-9 -8.
Taylor Hall is a #1 overall draft pick. It’s a huge burden and responsibility. He certainly has the resume:
- Redline report: 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.
- Bob McKenzie, tsn: 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.
- 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.
One thing we can’t know for certain is if Hall will go supernova. Here are the odds based on the 1979-2004 entry drafts:
- 2% turned out to be a elite players (about 3 a year)
- 4% turned into impact players (about 6 a year)
- 15% turned out to be average NHLers (about 24 a year)
- 24% played less than 200 games (about 38 a year)
- 55% never played a game in the NHL (the rest)
It’s been a long time since the Oilers have had anyone from category one. Taylor Hall might break a long drought in Oil country.
Every draft summer I post Gabriel Desjardins NHL equivalencies for that season’s top draft eligibles. Since Hall is pretty much on pace I thought it might be an idea to post some of the other NHLE’s over the last few seasons to give us an idea about where he ranks among the elite forwards from previous seasons. This is per 82gp and has had exceptional predictive power:
- Patrick Kane: 26-36-62 (ACTUAL 82gp, 21-51-72)
- John Tavares 25-21-46 (ACTUAL 82gp, 24-30-54)
- Taylor Hall 17-29-46
- Steve Stamkos: 23-19-42 (ACTUAL 79gp, 23-23-46)
Following Hall’s progress this season is going to be fun.