It seems as though we’ve talked about this for a decade (which is impossible) but it looks like we’re finally going to see Taylor Hall as an Oiler center for an extended period.
- Tom Renney, May 2012: “I like him on the other end of the passes (as a left-winger), going hard to the net. You play him where he’s most effective, not the safest, but I wouldn’t rule anything out for this great young player. Yeah, I would try him at centre to give it a look, educate myself.”
- Todd Nelson, December 2012: “ 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.”
I’m fine with Hall at center, but do hope they plan to look at it long term if it works well. Perhaps move Sam Gagner to wing when Nuge is better and the C’s would be Hall-RNH-Gordon with wingers Perron-Eberle, Yakupov-Gagner, Omark-Hemsky and Smyth-Jones. Maybe Lander as the 4C, with an extra forward Mike Brown or Will Acton.
If Hall can play center, keep him there. Right? I don’t like the idea of moving him there as a temp. He’s the heart of the order. If you’re going to move him there, move him there.