RE 11-12: Taylor Hall

Taylor Hall is a chippy bugger. I didn’t know that about him last summer, but felt he would eventually be able to handle himself physically. Taylor Hall–despite (or maybe due to) youth and inexperience–joins the battle when challenged and got involved on multiple occasions.

It isn’t exactly what you want the franchise to do, but I suspect it’s built-in to the hard drive and difficult to remove. Taylor Hall may never be filthy but I think there’s a hint of a mean streak in there.

NHL prediction for 11-12: 70, 32-28-60 (.857)

  1. So this is where all the goals are. I think he’ll cover this bet, Hall should get plenty of icetime at EVs and on the PP and is a year older.
  2. You’re projecting a lower team GF total than a year ago. No, I’m aiming higher. The forwards in my projection outscore last year’s group by (I believe) 28 goals. The defense is projected a shade below a year ago but the prediction is for an increase in GF.
  3. How good was his rookie season? Hall had an outstanding rookie season playing on the front lines. His relCorsi led the team and he managed to finish first among Oilers in goals scored despite missing 17 games at the end of the season. His 5×5/60 number was 1.78 and that’s a pretty good number for this club. And according to behind the net he faced tough opposition.
  4. What will help him post better numbers? A healthy season and being part of a better powerplay. I’m not certain how this should happen, but Hall as one of the trigger men working with Hemsky, Gagner, Omark and others should mean a stronger PP next year. I think the PP would have been better a year ago if everyone had stayed healthy.
  5. That rat fink Dorsett will get his. One of the really frustrating things about the Oilers post MacT is these roster spots devoted to knuckle draggers. As I recall, Hall and Dorsett fought and enforcers were in the building. The hope I have for Hall is that he keeps his swagger and makes opponents pay the price by scoring goals.
  6. Who should he play with? I think Hall/Eberle will be a mainstay with centers ranging from Gagner, Horcoff, Belanger, RNH and beyond.
  7. What about Smyth? It’ll be tough for them to play together, although maybe they try to move Hall to center this fall. Seems like a long shot, although I do like the idea of Hall, Eberle or Paajarvi moving over to center. There are too many really good wingers currently.
  8. What about RNH? We’ll see it early but I don’t think it’ll be a huge part of the 11-12 season.
  9. So, book it? Quite right. Joined at the hip. I would hope they bring RNH along a little slower than they did Hall.
  10. Who was the last Oiler draft pick to have this kind of skill? Man, that’s a tough one. Arnott had a tremendous amount of natural talent, he’d be a good guess. Before that, we’re talking about the boys on the bus and let’s not get started on that conversation.
  11. He’s better than Glenn Anderson. Anderson scored 30 goals as a rookie (20 years old) in a high scoring era (average team GF: 307) and Hall scored 22 as a rookie (19 years old) in a lesser scoring era (average team GF: 229). THIS coming season we can compare Hall’s 20 year old season to Anderson’s rookie year, but the era’s of very different.
  12. So he’s better than Anderson? Too soon to know. Hall is a first overall pick so he should be better than a lot of guys. But let’s wait and see him for a little longer.
  13. Hall should be a better two-way player than Anderson. Well, Anderson wasn’t a checker at all, he was a dynamic goal scorer. Hall should be able to do more for his team offensively (and thus keep the puck miles from his net) just by playing the game at a high level.
  14. Do you think the Anderson comparison is too much? Nah. People fall back on what they remember best and Anderson is a reasonable style comparison for Hall. I do think this young man will be a better player, but Glenn Anderson in his time was compared to Guy Lafleur and Rocket Richard (source: Peter Gzowski–The Game of Our Lives). It isn’t like we’re guaranteeing Hall will score 498 career goals or anything.
  15. What is he good at? A better question might be “what can’t he do?” and the list isn’t large. Penalty kill, he didn’t have an enormous PP season as a rookie (no biggie),
  16. What is he good at? I think he’ll eventually have a few signature plays: buddy has a wicked snapshot, when he starts finding the range it should be good for a lot of goals. He’s a good skater, and when he sees daylight the kid absolutely flies. Remember that goal he scored in OT against St. Louis? Andy McDonald fell, hit his head, Whitney passed the puck and it was jailbreak. I bet it didn’t take four seconds from the time Hall saw the turnover, began to wheel, caught the puck and rifled it home. It was a blur. And I’m not certain but it looked like he paused a little before shooting, and that might have been a key to the goal. Kelly Hrudey said he felt Hall “disguised his release” which is maybe a better way of putting it. The kid is a thrill a minute.
  17. Who is his best current comp? I’d say Tavares. Stamkos had a similar rookie season but in far fewer minutes. The Islander center isn’t much older than Hall, but would be a good comparable so far for Taylor Hall.
  18. What is his outer marker? Don’t know. We don’t have enough evidence. So far, we’ve established that he can’t play goal and isn’t good enough to pull a crappy team out of the basement on his own. That isn’t a lot of evidence, we need to see more.
  19. Could he be a two-way forward? Again, I’m not sure how much you’d want to discourage him offensively at this point. As he matures, Hall should naturally find his way without the puck and if he doesn’t then you still have an exceptional player. I’m not sure “checking lessons” is a good idea for this player.
  20. Paajarvi cheats for defense. Well, we’ve talk about that and it isn’t always a good thing. Let the horses run, Christ we’ve endured a generation of 6′s and 7′s why don’t we let this jack become a king?
  21. Who would you trade him for? No one. Seriously. You know, I’m an old guy and maybe have no right to enjoy another glorious career from start to finish after all those young Oilers from the 80s, but this kid was drafted by our town, said all the right things and then did all the right things. Taylor Hall is an Edmonton Oiler and he’s just getting started. I wouldn’t trade it. Seriously. I’m just going to enjoy it and tell everyone under 30 they should too because God knows Taylor Hall’s don’t come along every year.

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