What If Taylor Hall Had Played Center in Windsor?

For a minute, I'd like to pose a question.

It seems that the debate over Taylor Hall vs Tyler Seguin isn't one debating the skill of either player. The debate seems now to revolve more around where the Edmonton Oilers need the most help and for that reason alone, Seguin supporters are suggesting the Oilers draft him at #1.

I've yet to actually hear anyone say that Seguin should be drafted simply because he's better. Even Central Scouting, the latest and I think only major scouting agency to list Seguin at #1 overall, isn't doing so for his current skill, but more for his potential at a position that comes in higher demand around the NHL.

Furthermore, Seguin is being projected at a higher level than Hall. David Staples has a great read here on what that means if interested.

Tyler Seguin was a great player on a not as great a team in Plymouth. Taylor Hall was a star winger on a loaded team in Windsor. Those are facts as we know them and explanations by many who suggest that because Seguin was able to produce with a lesser supporting cast, his numbers mean more.

So, here's my question.

What if both players had played their junior career at center?

Sure, it's a loaded question because we know that's not what happened and we don't know what Hall's numbers would have looked like.

What we do know from the accounts of the many scouts, coaches and players who've provided information and testimonials about Hall, is that he's a natural athlete. He possessed skills that made him a great draft when he was selected into the OHL and his inability to play the position wasn't reason for the switch to LW.

Windso
r coach Bob Boughner stated Hall's move to LW wasn't because Hall couldn't effectively play the center position, but because Boughner had a team with plenty of center depth and he thought a player with Hall's skills could make the switch. Moreover, Boughner enjoyed watching a player with Hall's speed play wing and literally fly around the defender on an offensive rush. He slated him there to better utilize the other members of the Windsor team.

Had Boughner not had that extra depth, Hall might have spent his OHL time at center. It's a bold guess and there isn't much evidence to suggest Hall's numbers would have been the same as they are now, but it's not a stretch to imagine they'd still be great and Hall wouldn't still be listed as a top tier draft choice in this years NHL lottery.

For those out there that are looking less at the player and more the position that the Oilers need to fill, would you think differently if Hall were thought of as a center and not a winger? Or even a 50/50 split should he have played a lot of time there?

Does it help or confuse your decision if you were given the impression that Hall could play either position in the NHL effectively? Since we really don't know how either player will make the transition, would that versatility be nice to have in your next superstar and would it make you change your mind knowing Hall can play both while Seguin is known purely as a center and not a winger?

Food for thought.



8 comments:

Very Good point. I am one of those that thought Oilers should draft Seguin not only because he was playing on a team with less of a supporting cast but also because the Center position more time then not has a major impact on the outcome of games. Because of the run Hall has had recently in the OHL playoffs its hard to ignore the impact he has had on his team playing LW either. So, i'm kinda back to 50/50 on this one. I would pose the question to your question. "What if you knew that both players were of exact equal talent and skill"? Would you rather a Center or a LW? Bottom line on this is i'm glad i'm not Stu MacGregor on this one. But at the same time I think both these players are going to be 1st line players in the NHL someday. So i really think we cant go wrong here.

admiralmark
May 12, 2010 at 7:46 AM comment-delete

We need an elite explosive scorer, we have searched to find one forever and i personally feel goal scorers are much more difficult to find then playmakers. The last time we drafted for need we left Zack Parise on the board and ended up with Marc Pouliot and JFJ. To me its about asset management as if one looks at our roster everyone says we are deep on the wings with Eberle, Penner, Hemmer, MPS, while this is true we are 2 years away from loosing Hemsky and Penner as UFA's sp in essence are we that deep on the wings? Take hall he is the BPA and fix the roster from that point.

Anonymous
May 12, 2010 at 8:31 AM comment-delete

@admiralmark

If all things were equal, I'd first talk to Boston about who they want and what they'd be willing to give up to get it. If you can take extra talent from Boston while still getting one of these two, I do it.

If not, I take Taylor Hall even though I think the Oilers will take Seguin. Something about a more proven track record makes me feel a bit more secure. Hall has had one extra year of junior and put up great numbers in all three years. Seguin has taken a greater jump, but who's to say that he takes another. The likelihood is he will, but I'm not super comfortable taking the chance.

The Oilers need hard nosed players and Taylor Hall is that. He's done it consistently, he's been in big games and won and while either player is a good choice, Hall gives me more comfort he'll play well immediately.

May 12, 2010 at 10:25 AM comment-delete

@ anonymous

I'm not sure we'd lose either Penner or Hemsky if the team is actually able to produce a playoff contending team in the next 2 years. A proper rebuild happens when teams obtain top draft picks and Eberle, Svennson and Hall/Seguin are a good start.

Why abandon ship if in the next two years you actually start winning?

I also agree, you don't draft for need, but you take the best players available and try to move pieces around those players. It would be like passing on Crosby if you needed a goaltender.

A lot can change in one to two seasons so your needs at the time of the draft are not always the same as two years down the road when those picks pan out.

I also don't see how Hall (if he can play center) along with Gagner, Brule and Horcoff can't become your core down the middle if you can't make the required changes. You're one 4th line plugging faceoff center away from a good core. Not too hard to deal for.

May 12, 2010 at 10:51 AM comment-delete

It will be interesting if Boston makes it further in the playoffs short of winning the cup if they'd be willing to deal for Hall? If Hall goes on to win the Memorial Cup again and plays a large role in doing so. I would have to think the Oiler's draft him. Its probably the right move at that point. Unless of course Boston puts a package together that's hard to resist?

admiralmark
May 12, 2010 at 7:00 PM comment-delete

My first move if I'm Tambellini is to see how bad Boston wants Hall and what the Oilers can get to lay off him.

If you can pluck out a great player it would be a good move for Edmonton.

May 12, 2010 at 7:33 PM comment-delete

Interesting Article to follow up what we were talking about...

http://www.hockeyjournal.com/news/2010/05/13_taylorhall.php

admiralmark
May 14, 2010 at 8:55 AM comment-delete

Seguin actually outscored Hall this past year (in total goals and 5x5 goals) therefore, of the two, the 'explosive scorer' may not be Hall. He may give the impression that he is more explosive through his style of play but it would parallel the Crosby/Ovie debate. Who adds more value to the team?

Anonymous
May 20, 2010 at 7:48 AM comment-delete

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