The first thing I wrote on this blog about Taylor Hall came in the hours after he was hammered into the boards at the Memorial Cup by Travis Hamonic. I remember thinking a body isn’t supposed to do that, and we all sat silent, waiting to find out how badly he was injured. Answer came later that period, when he scored a goal—and from that point forward Taylor Hall was an Oiler in my mind.
Came the draft, the crowd went crazy—and that was a calling card for the young 4. As an Oilers fan, I have been blessed to watch all manner of brilliance on skates since 1972. Taylor Hall was a unique talent, breathtaking, a solo on ice right in the middle of a team game.
I called him Chance, because he got so many. I well remember an overtime goal he scored against St. Louis maybe December 5 of his rookie season. Fast, quick, brilliant. Music! Visiting Rexall when Hall was in the lineup was never boring, not once. He was, and is, a wonderful talent.
I think this is a difficult day for every Oilers fan, because the No. 1 overall pick used on Taylor Hall belonged to them in a very real way. A faithful fan base walked those steps to Rexall in a season lost and bought into the idea of a rebuild fast as lightning.
Today, Taylor Hall was traded away for a player we barely know. Worse, said player does not have the same value as Hall, who we have seen his entire career. It is a bitter pill, from an organization that has not earned our trust in over a decade.
Oilers fans may try to figure out a way to trade management and keep Hall but it does not work that way. We can curse the decision, we can shake our fists, we can name-call as children, or we can turn on each other.
It does not matter. The die is cast. The Edmonton Oilers made a bad trade today, and they will again. The only difference about this trade is that, this time, they traded the city’s favorite son—and after you are done hollering, you must decide if you can forgive them, devote your passion to this addled team.
Peter Chiarelli is a veteran general manager who cast about looking for a solution to a major problem—brought about the day Jeff Petry was traded for picks. Peter Chiarelli found his defenseman and will now go about the business of roster building over the rest of the summer.
I do not believe Oilers fans will forgive this, and if the playoffs do not arrive next spring my guess is Edmonton’s hockey team will have a new general manager. If the standings reflect darkness, he might be gone by Christmas. Godspeed, Peter Chiarelli. You better be right.