HALL C

I’ve watched and listened closely over the months and years in regard to Taylor Hall and center. Since the Nuge was drafted, I listen even more carefully. Why? If Hall and Nuge are the centers moving forward, there’s no room for Sam Gagner and for me Gagner is still a very interesting young player.

Jason Gregor posted an interview today at Oilers Nation with Todd Nelson, OKC’s head coach. Its a fun read, and Nelson specifically answers Jason in regard to #422 moving to the middle:

  • Nelson: “ I talked to him at the start of the year and asked, ‘How do you feel about playing Centre, because everybody’s been asking that question.’ He told me, ‘I want to feel comfortable with my game. It’s been awhile since I’ve played, so right now I’d rather play wing.’ He’s up front and honest with us. We don’t want to put a player in a situation where they don’t feel comfortable. That’s not to say we can’t explore that as the season goes on, but we have quite a few centres and right now it’s not really a need that we have to look at.”

These are early days, the Oilers didn’t move Messier for years after he arrived in the NHL. Still, another season with Nuge-Gagner at the top of the C depth chart gives Samwise a chance to stand and deliver a season that answers all questions/closes the books on a possible trade.

I’m a  big believer in Gagner, but the Oilers have options and Gagner might fetch that top 4 defenseman Edmonton may be looking for in a wow trade. I’m against it and believe Gagner is going to have a fine career. I think the Oilers are not as convinced of this.

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19 Responses to "HALL C"

  1. RexLibris says:

    Hey, LT.

    I’m in agreement with you, selling now seems like selling low.

    That being said, as per my recent declaration on ON regarding posts that even passingly refer to Sam Gagner, are you prepared to get Gagner-Bombed?

    I suspect that at least one regular commenter has designed a web-search algorithm that detects positive online references to Sam Gagner and the term 2nd line center and immediately directs him to the site for rebuttal.

    Good post though. As I stated before, I agree.

  2. Lowetide says:

    DSF should be along soon, its been an ongoing item. :-)

  3. hunter1909 says:

    Barring the return of Pronger, this team stands pat until training camp, whenever the fuck that may be.

    If the team comes out flying(put me down officially now for this lol), then Tambellini and his team of “experts” show everyone…

    “Have mercy” comes to mind.

    To be honest, this train wreck of an NHL really appeals on several levels.

  4. hunter1909 says:

    Speaking of which, Oiler’s stand to lose the most if the season gets cancelled(lottery position seriously compromised). Just a thought.

  5. jake70 says:

    If they were playing, Gagner ‘s cap hit is 3.2 M, one year deal. 2.275 M the previous 2 years. What do you pay him and for how long a term going forward ( I just cut and pasted that question from the Hemsky threads from last year)?? If the season goes belly up, this is going to cause a problem because he is on the 1 year deal….do you base raises partly on his numbers in Europe?? You still have Horcoff at a zillion dollars, Nuge the next year. More I think of it, I see he and MPS on the way out in a wow-ish trade in which the Oilers fleece some team on the brink of going under resulting from all the silliness going on.

  6. tcho says:

    I think Gags is likely to be a perfectly good #2 centre going forward. For all the Gagner haters out there who like to cherry pick out his big night against Chicago, I thought it might be a fun exercise to cherry pick the other way.

    Gagner was injured to start the season and had a tough time getting on track with position in the rotation, etc. What would happen to his point production if we discounted the first two months, found his ppg total, and then projected that over an 82 game schedule? Result:

    41 points/56 games = 0.732 ppg = 60 point season

    That 60 points would put Gagner in the top 30 in C scoring in the NHL, and in the range of players like Backes, Getzlaf, Legwand, etc.

    So, total chumpsville. Who’d want this clown?

    Oh yeah. And he did it playing for one of the worst teams in the league.

    Oh yeah. And he did it while only 22 years old.

  7. Wes Mantooth-11 says:

    The Oilers can try Hall at center, I just don’t see it working, no advance stats to back it up, call it a hunch.

    The Oilers would be better off drafting a center, Messier was a HHOF player and might have been able to play any postion, I feel its a harder move then it was back in 80-81.

    I will continue to make the argument that the Oilers are still a lottery team and could draft an amazing center this year.

    another problem is if the Oiler do move Hall to center and you trade Gagner and Hall strugles then you just made your weakest area on the team significantly weaker.

    yesterdays NHL I think it works, todays NHL not as easy.

  8. jp says:

    Gagner has clearly become a solid NHL 2C. A big part of the flack he gets I think stems from the widespread belief (with which I also agree) that the Oilers would benefit greatly from having more size in their top 6. Gagner is no worse than the rest in this regard, but no one wants to think about trading any of our big 4. So to get more size in the top 6, Gagner pretty much needs to be replaced with a big 2C. It’s not fair to Gagner, and the big 2C isn’t essential for the Oilers to be a very good team, but I think a lot of people have this vague (or not so vague) template for what a championship caliber team should look like. That template likely includes Hall, RNH, Eberle and Yakupov, but also more size down the middle. Right or wrong, I think this is contributing just as much to the negative opinion about Gagner as does his play on the ice.

    When I’ve envisioned Hall moving to C, I’ve always hoped that Gagner would stick around to make the C depth extremely good. Gagner’s not a 3C, but extra strength down the middle is never bad. This scenario is all the more appealing because of the extreme lack of C prospects in the org. There’s not much after RNH, Gagner and the old guys… Even if Lander does get his game together, him at 4C with the ability to move up to 3C is a hell of a lot more appealing than him as the Oilers 3C once Horc and Belanger retire or are bought out….

  9. misfit says:

    I hate this topic and don’t understand why it continues to be brought up. I didn’t get it before we drafted RNH and it makes even less sense to me now.

    - Hall is our best player and is better at LW than C. Why you would put your best player out of position when you don’t have to is beyond me.

    - He’s clearly more comfortable on the wing based on his comments to Nelson. Again, why move your best player to a position he’s less comfortable in when you don’t have to?

    - I don’t even know if we have a legit #2 LW as it stands now. Moving Hall to LW means we arguably don’t have anyone capable of filling a LW spot at all in the top 6. Gagner is a far better 2C than Paajarvi/Hartikainen/Smyth are as 1LWs. Smyth is ok now, but at 37 who knows for how long.

    - I assume the idea is Yakupov/Eberel/Hall get moved to LW in the event of Hall sliding over to the middle, which then means you have two players playing out of position.

  10. Lucinius says:

    Yakupov will be playing left wing, I wager. I don’t see them keeping him out of the top six for long (if/when they play..).

    You’ll see Eberle and Hemksy as the two RWs in the top six, making it Hall and Yakupov filling the LW slots.

    Likely with Hall put together with Hemsky and Gagner and trying to give them the toughest opposition to give the RNH/Yak/Eberle trio softer minutes (or facing the top checkers while the Gagner line goes power versus power), leaving the Horcoff, Smyth and Paajarvi (I’m set on this!) to face either the opponents top line, or second line. This would then allow the fourth line of whateverdisastertheydecideonthisyear to face the least deadly opponents and only go -5 or so…

  11. Oilanderp says:

    Love Gags. Barring an overpay, we had better keep him!

  12. DeadmanWaking says:

    Absolutely Hall should take a spin at C at least to where he can pinch hit at the position when contingency dictates. First, learning to think like a C can only help him understand Nuge’s cognitive process that much better when he’s on the receiving side. Second, suppose Nuge limps off the ice in a playoff game late in the 2nd and doesn’t return for the 3rd. You absolutely want the option to have Hall make a decent account of sliding over to C if that makes other players on the team more comfortable in their roles, who don’t have Hall’s headroom to struggle or under-perform and remain effective.

    I don’t think it hurts your de facto team captain to go out there every so often and suffer a role change. There are many 3rd and 4th line guys out there for whom it’s a full mental burden simply not to eff up. It’s good for your guys who walk on water to experience this now and again, so they don’t scowl at some lessor teammate with eight white knuckles wrapped around their next paycheck for not improvising a bunt-pass to Mike Peca when the open hole in the infield was so glaringly obvious. (How many guys out there ever get so comfortable that they start tearing pages from other leagues?)

    Even Hall’s elite comfort zone will have an asterisk or two the first time he lines up against Drew Doughty over a seven game series. Post game interview [inside his head]: “Gosh, I don’t recall that play at all. I was neck deep in a war of attrition. Christ that fatso can skate! It’s all just a blur now–I barely recall the entire 2nd period. FFS Taylor, that doesn’t sound captainly! [makes eye contact, notices more inbound microphones] Oh great. [Activates emergency cliche finder] (A) I was just trying to finish my check, (B) I was skating hard to the puck, (C) I was trying to get my shot off, (D) You’ll have to ask X, he had the puck”. Doughty in the other locker room is thinking much the same thing, only he’s lived it before, so only a few shifts were lost in the blur of locking horns at exertion eleven.

    Coach to Taylor in private after a losing game two by a late goal with Hall on the ice: “How are you holding up? Dough-boy got a step on you there. On home ice, you want to see more of that spry gorilla or less?” Taylor: “Less? Fuck no, bring it on! It’s payback time.”

    There you go, one standard-issue Taylor Hall comfort zone: a smidgen out to sea but not at sea, with a C but not at C.

  13. Lowetide says:

    DMW: That’s as good a scouting report as I’ve seen on Taylor Hall. Seriously.

  14. dessert1111 says:

    Wes Mantooth-11:

    The Oilers would be better off drafting a center, Messier was a HHOF player and might have been able to play any postion, I feel its a harder move then it was back in 80-81.

    This is a good a point and one I don’t know if I’ve seen much before. Ideally they just draft a good centre with their first pick this year. If it’s a top 10 pick, they have a pretty good shot at being the Oilers’ 2C within the next year or two, no? Of course they might not work out, but keep Gagner at least until then. Need more good players in the lineup, not less, ESPECIALLY at centre.

  15. jp says:

    Lowetide,

    DeadmanWaking,

    Yes, well said DMW.

  16. OilLeak says:

    DeadmanWaking:
    Absolutely Hall should take a spin at C at least to where he can pinch hit at the position when contingency dictates.First, learning to think like a C can only help him understand Nuge’s cognitive process that much better when he’s on the receiving side.Second, suppose Nuge limps off the ice in a playoff game late in the 2nd and doesn’t return for the 3rd. You absolutely want the option to have Hall make a decent account of sliding over to C if that makes other players on the team more comfortable in their roles, who don’t have Hall’s headroom to struggle or under-perform and remain effective.

    I don’t think it hurts your de facto team captain to go out there every so often and suffer a role change.There are many 3rd and 4th line guys out there for whom it’s a full mental burden simply not to eff up.It’s good for your guys who walk on water to experience this now and again, so they don’t scowl at some lessor teammate with eight white knuckles wrapped around their next paycheck for not improvising a bunt-pass to Mike Peca when the open hole in the infield was so glaringly obvious.(How many guys out there ever get so comfortable that they start tearing pages from other leagues?)

    Even Hall’s elite comfort zone will have an asterisk or two the first time he lines up against Drew Doughty over a seven game series.Post game interview [inside his head]: “Gosh, I don’t recall that play at all.I was neck deep in a war of attrition.Christ that fatso can skate!It’s all just a blur now–I barely recall the entire 2nd period.FFS Taylor, that doesn’t sound captainly![makes eye contact, notices more inbound microphones] Oh great.[Activates emergency cliche finder](A) I was just trying to finish my check, (B) I was skating hard to the puck, (C) I was trying to get my shot off, (D) You’ll have to ask X, he had the puck”.Doughty in the other locker room is thinking much the same thing, only he’s lived it before, so only a few shifts were lost in the blur of locking horns at exertion eleven.

    Coach to Taylor in private after a losing game two by a late goal with Hall on the ice: “How are you holding up?Dough-boy got a step on you there.On home ice, you want to see more of that spry gorilla or less?”Taylor: “Less? Fuck no, bring it on!It’s payback time.”

    There you go, one standard-issue Taylor Hall comfort zone: a smidgen out to sea but not at sea, with a C but not at C.

    Awesome

  17. spoiler says:

    Hall C

    Nice pun, LT.

  18. Bank Shot says:

    I’m not sure there is room for Gagner as a top six center on this team. Championship clubs generally have two strong two way centers and gagner is not one. RNH is not either, but I’d say he has more of a chance to grow into one then Gagner as time is on his side.

  19. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Bank Shot:
    I’m not sure there is room for Gagner as a top six center on this team. Championship clubs generally have two strong two way centers and gagner is not one. RNH is not either, but I’d say he has more of a chance to grow into one then Gagner as time is on his side.

    I’m convinced that RNH is going to be an outstanding two-way centre.

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