Welcome to Centreville!

This photo was reportedly taken (about 5 years ago) in the St. John Valley near Centreville, New Brunswick. It is a beautiful part of our great country, looks a little like Lacombe, AB.

500 or so people live in Centreville. A cafe, a ladies dress shop, a Home Hardware. Kids in the town take part each fall in something called a “potato break” where young people have the opportunity to punt school in favor of helping in the potato harvest. I’d love to give my kids that kind of option, bet they’d appreciate school a helluva lot more. :-)

The newest resident of Centreville is Taylor Hall. Tom Renney mentioned at the entry draft (right after Hall was selected) that Hall would get a look in the middle. The draft moments are here and include Steve Tambellini’s words “I’m extremely excited (long pause) to select (longer pause) from the Windsor Spitfires (roar from fans and then Rexall) Taylor Hall.” The best moment of the 2010-11 season for the Oilers.

This has been done in the past, and successfully. Mark Messier arrived as a LW but spent the heart of  his HOF career in the middle. The best part of the attempt is that it is taking place early and Hall does have some experience at center. Later career attempts in Edmonton (most recently Anson Carter, Ryan Smyth and Fernando Pisani) are usually less successful.

I’m fine with the attempt. If the Oilers are going to try this then let’s have at it and see what the kid can do; if he struggles, put him back at LW. If he plays well, keep him there and draft Landeskog or Larsson this summer. Taylor Hall is the franchise, the cornerstone; all things will revolve around him. Plus, if he can make it there then the club can move Magnus Pääjärvi onto a skill line half a season early. It also gives the club a chance to see if Hall can find chemistry with Hemsky and or Penner before the deadline.

If I were a cynical fellow (and I am not, ask anyone) then the thought might occur that this is well timed based on a likely losing streak heading into the All-Star break. The Oilers are facing some damn good hockey teams over the next while and “Hall at center” gives the fanbase something more to talk about aside from the fact that the entire season is sponsored by the letter “L” and the number “30.”

The recent mid-season Central Scouting ratings are the important ones. From here on out it’s better to pay attention to Redline and Bob McKenzie, but this list is the one the NHL teams follow and cross check for omissions. Interesting that Couturier seems to be falling, and if the Oiler draft 3rd and get the big man at C I’ll be a happy man.

Taylor Chorney was recalled today, one or other of the veterans has an injury. Chorney has some problems but one has to be impressed with how well he’s played this season in the AHL. I have to say that after years of watching kids fall flat after being sent down it’s really encouraging to see Chorney stand and deliver. I ranked Chorney as the 16th best prospect in the system here and looked at his possible recall here during the reasonable expectations series.

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