Framing the Issue

Lowetide
October 20 2010 08:08AM

This is Henry Fonda in "12 Angry Men." Along with wonderful phrases like "the New Jersey hair-splitting convention" the movie is a compelling look into the meaning of reasonable doubt and the power of bias and prejudice. It's one of my favorite movies. 

There a slight disconnect between most of the msm and the blogosphere on a very important issue involving the Edmonton Oilers. Bloggers have been spending a lot of time discussing Taylor Hall's future, going into great detail in regard to important issues. Keeping Taylor Hall in the NHL now allows him to leave via free agency (if he wishes) at age 25; if he's sent back now the Oilers would enjoy his playing rights until age 27. That's a big deal.

Also, many secondary issues (why on earth can't these kids play in the AHL at age 18? that is something the league needs to adjust) have been brought up across the blogosphere and at the very least make for an interesting discussion.

The mainstream media appears to be using this discussion as a platform to call out "crazy fans" for being fickle. The radio has been full of diatribes about the silliness of sending Hall away ("give your head a shake") and not at all discussing the actual issue: are the Edmonton Oilers better off starting the contract clock a year (or two years) down the line. For the record, I haven't talked to one fan in panic nor a crazy person about Taylor Hall. The Edmonton fanbase is taking a kicking here, and they don't deserve it.

The fact is that there is an issue here that should be addressed: should Taylor Hall be sent to junior in order for the Oilers to get the most out of his pre-UFA career?

My own opinion is here. In that post (and quoting myself, good grief) I said:

  • I've always believed (and Earl Weaver taught me) that when a young player is ready to compete at a certain level the best thing to do is elevate him to that level immediately. Don't put him in a position to fail, but rather take the things he does well and place him in ideal circumstances at the higher level. I think the monetary argument is a secondary consideration (honestly) and that player development should be the only real concern. If Taylor Hall is ready to score 20 goals in the NHL at his age, I believe he'll be a better player one year from now because he was able to handle the extreme challenges at speed. It is a major step, and if he can do it at this age we may be staring at a Steven Stamkos. That's what I believe.

Still do. If the Oilers are any good at all when Hall turns 25 he may well sign here again, and the Oilers are going to pay through the nose if he develops so here's hoping. This is an issue that has enjoyed a longer than normal shelf life--certainly longer than it warrants--partly because the msm isn't listening.

So let me be clear: these are not panic stricken thoughts of youngsters who hold their hockey cards in their hands while drifting off to sleep, these are not the idiot ramblings of unemployed, middle aged men with Cheesie bags and giants bottles of Coca-Cola.

These are well thought out arguments by adults that have benefits and are worthy of discussion.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#1 PabstBR55
October 20 2010, 08:26AM
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Very nice article, LT.

To what extent do you think the Oilers are using this as an evaluation period for Hall and Paajarvi with the possibility of being sent down after a 9-game trial? Do you think management is at all considering this?

Now that the Oilers have come back to earth in the last 2 games, I've noticed that the posts are becoming more level-headed. After the initial period of extreme SQUEEE, a pragmatic debate on how to make the Oilers sustainably competitive over the LONG-TERM is a welcome return to the discussion table.

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#2 Jonathan Willis
October 20 2010, 08:32AM
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It's been interesting to watch the transition from "if he earns a spot in camp with his play he needs to be here" to "it's early, give him time".

I think (hope?) we all knew he was unlikely to be worth his $3.75 MM cap hit this season. Combine that with the long-term UFA ramifications of having him play this year, and the fiscal/cap angle to this is clear: send Hall to junior.

Certainly I don't think Hall's entitled by right of draft pedigree to a spot, but many do, and I think that's where the MSM is coming from: that all first overall picks deserve a spot immediately.

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#3 WallyWallcakes
October 20 2010, 08:33AM
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Having the league look at sending 18-year-olds to the AHL is absolutely ludicrous. If you do that, you might as well get rid of the entire Canadian Hockey League, because it'll become nothing more than midget hockey.

If you want to change something, make it so NHL teams can't draft a player until he's 20, thus allowing teams to send the player back to junior, or down to the American League.

Yes, it would then change the NHL's way of writing contracts in terms of UFA eligibility, but I don't see any scenario where you can start sending 18 year olds to the AHL without severely crippling the CHL.

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#4 Mr. Pederson
October 20 2010, 08:33AM
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Nice one LT. Agreed that the monetary considerations should come second. Hall looks pretty good out there, I don't see any reason you need to rush him back to junior. Making some cheeky plays and showing confidence, hasn't cashed any of them to the extent we like but it'll come, and as you say if he's read for this level, he should be allowed to adjust to it.

And I feel if you send him down now so that you have his rights longer, you're either creating or at least allowing to exist an environment where a player skipping town when he hits UFA status is not only considered allowable but almost encouraged. It's like "we have you now you bastard and we're keeping you around as long as we damn well can and there's not a damn thing you can do about it!!" It doesn't feel like good faith between management and its players and I don't think is conducive to healthy team building. I feel that if we let these youngsters grow together and enjoy playing here, they won't necessarily be running for the exits when they're eligile.

I think sending him down for contract reasons sends the message we still view playing for the Oilers like being in the jail of the NHL

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#5 Clyde Frog
October 20 2010, 08:33AM
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There are so many reasons outside of just Hall's development that teams like the Oilers have to factor in.

Marketability, we know the Oilers will struggle at points this year and if seeing Taylor Hall sells even a 1000 extra tickets a game then you know that will be a factor. (Who doesn't want to see Taylor on the ice in his rookie season)

Taylor Halls feelings, sound trite I know but honestly if you start out making him unhappy whether you maintain his rights to 27 or 25 there will be a challenge with keeping him beyond that point.

Chemistry, you don't just throw 2 very good players on the ice together and tell them win at the highest level of competition. It is something that has to be developed and nurtured.

Lastly when dealing with the MSM who was responsible for "Give your head a shake" comment well he works for the Oilers and I firmly believe he feels it is his job to try and control the Oilers brand on the air.

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#6 hoil
October 20 2010, 08:43AM
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LT, we are on the same page here:

1) What you have posted here and previously about Hall's place on the team is not far from what I said a few years ago about Gagner. If the kid is good enough and strong enough, the value of more junior time is questionable (at least in terms of player development, if not contract implications). There are always examples of guys who are rushed, but then there are examples of guys like Schremp who went back to junior and lit the place on fire...then we learn later about the gross ammounts of PP time, too-long shifts and bad habits that didn't help him make the jump to pro. Of course it's not ideal that the AHL option isn't availble to shield the kids in that big jump from junior to pro. Ideally you would like to have the option to send a kid to the AHL to get their feet wet, but that isn't on the table, so you have to shelter them as best you can.

2) That movie is one of my all time favourites. Henry Fonda shows how to act without looking like he is acting.

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#7 OttawaOilFan
October 20 2010, 08:44AM
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Mmmmmmm Cheesies and Coke. Ok, back on track here ... from the games that I've seen Taylor in this year, he hasn't looked out of place. He definitely has the speed to play in the league and he's been getting/generating chances. I think having him in the NHL is the best place for him. Also, LT I totally agree with you that the league needs to look at adjusting the age limit for AHL kids.

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#8 dohfOs
October 20 2010, 08:45AM
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If we trust in Hall now, Hall might just trust us back in 7 (which is a rather long run with us in which ever way you wish to look at it) years.

Both Hall and MPS stays. And Omark said it, there's a lot of politics in the Oilers (and in all the other teams playing in the NHL).

And I agree with you LT - "why on earth can't these kids play in the AHL at age 18?" Again, politics..

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#9 Oilers4ever
October 20 2010, 08:54AM
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You know, I've watched this team for the last 25 years, and if there is one thing I've learned that this organization has failed to do too many times is develop talent properly and put on too much pressure. Now don't get me wrong here, I think Taylor is a phenomenal player and will be great for years to come, but that being said, this team does need to do what is best for the organization. This team has made mistakes in the past as a result of poor drafting, rushing kids, etc. (see Mike Comrie, Jason Arnott, and to an extent Sam Gagner). Just because your team sucks and isn't playing well does mean you necessarily take the fast track and rush a player who isn't ready. Does Taylor want to go back to junior? We obviously all know the answer to that but what's the better choice overall? I'm sure that if Taylor went back to Junior for a year and finished the season in the AHL (like Eberle did last year) and then was here next season with some time in the AHL behind him, if the Oil were winning a cup 3-5 years from now he probably wouldn't give a rat's you know what that he went back to junior for that one extra year.

From what I've seen so far in 4 games, he doesn't look comfortable out there in my eyes. Certainly not as much Ebs has. MPS is hard to read because in my mind he's played on a crap line. If he gets a chance to play with Horc and Hemmer I think his point production will go up and his experience overseas and in the World tournament have him more prepared than Hall.

People do need to chill out on this though and give the kids a break. This is not Gretz, Mess, and Kurri in rookie years people. Its rare to get a Crosby/Ovechkin type who light it up in the rookie year. Even Stamkos didn't do that in his first season.

Oilers mgmt will do what they feel is best for the team and Oiler fans need to accept and understand that. I firmly believe Tambellini and co. are the right team to turn this ship around and get us sailing in the right direction, we just need the patience required. If that means another crap season and a chance at the first lottery pick again, so be it.

If this young crop of kids grow up together and become part of a winning team, it won't matter how old they are when they become UFA's, they will want to stay here. We just need to grow them properly.... There.. done my essay. :)

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#10 Tyler
October 20 2010, 08:55AM
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Two things:

1) On the appeal to authority - other people, in positions of authority, think differently - Burke sent Bobby Ryan back to junior and pretty clearly believes in a junior, AHL, NHL route to success. I don't think anyone can say that there's a consensus on this, although I'll concede that the balance of expert opinion is behind you. Of course, the people in this position most often tend to be bad managers.

2) Has this issue blown up again in Edmonton? I've had some indications that it has in my email - is there a widespread trashing of bloggers advocating this taking place? Has "give your head a shake" replaced "run the Oilers show" as the phrase du jour? If so, can someone point me to it?

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#11 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
October 20 2010, 08:56AM
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PabstBR55 wrote:

Very nice article, LT.

To what extent do you think the Oilers are using this as an evaluation period for Hall and Paajarvi with the possibility of being sent down after a 9-game trial? Do you think management is at all considering this?

Now that the Oilers have come back to earth in the last 2 games, I've noticed that the posts are becoming more level-headed. After the initial period of extreme SQUEEE, a pragmatic debate on how to make the Oilers sustainably competitive over the LONG-TERM is a welcome return to the discussion table.

To be fair, I'm still squeeing.

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#12 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 20 2010, 08:58AM
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Excellent blog, certainly a subject at least worthy of discussing. Not sure why so many want to refuse to do that.

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#13 Archaeologuy
October 20 2010, 08:59AM
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I am slightly torn on Hall. He is clearly the least ready to be playing in the NHL out of all the rookies on the club. No doubt Hall until 27 is better than Hall until 25 (although I wonder if the Oilers dont sign him to a crazy long deal after his ELC anyway), but will a year in juniour acually help him be more NHL ready?

It didnt help Kadri all that much. Hall would go back to Juniour and dominate the same way he always has. Which 17 year old defenseman is going to challenge him? How many future excellent beer league goalies are going to force him to refine his moves?

So outside of physical development (that doesnt seem like the issue right now), how much better of a hockey player will another year in Windsor make him?

That leaves (IMO) just the contract as the big benefit. Well if he's the player the Oilers hope he is after his ELC then they're going to offer him a big contract anyway. My guess is that the Oilers will probably have him signed until he's at least 27 no matter which way this plays out.

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#14 Jason T
October 20 2010, 08:59AM
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I think the MSM has been creating this issue, not the fans. We're on board for a long rebuild here. I've been saying that the media is making this an issue for a long time already. Just like reading John Short's comments in the Sun, "Plan the parade" after game 1. Not one fan had even gone there and the is the MSM creating what they THINK the average fan is feeling. As usual.

Makes for good talk radio I suppose?

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#15 dawgbone
October 20 2010, 09:04AM
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WallyWallcakes wrote:

Having the league look at sending 18-year-olds to the AHL is absolutely ludicrous. If you do that, you might as well get rid of the entire Canadian Hockey League, because it'll become nothing more than midget hockey.

If you want to change something, make it so NHL teams can't draft a player until he's 20, thus allowing teams to send the player back to junior, or down to the American League.

Yes, it would then change the NHL's way of writing contracts in terms of UFA eligibility, but I don't see any scenario where you can start sending 18 year olds to the AHL without severely crippling the CHL.

I don't think you have to go that far.

What about if the CHL and NHL came to an agreement that states an NHL team can only take 1 player out of the CHL and put them in the AHL (before they are an overager) every 4 years?

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#16 Archaeologuy
October 20 2010, 09:05AM
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@Jason T

I'm pretty sure all the fans who want Gagner traded because he isnt a "1st line centre" arent ready for a long term rebuild. There are plenty of intelligent fans who recognize the situation, but there are others who want performance NOW. I dont think the MSM is making everything themselves. Gregor has plenty of delusional callers/emailers every day.

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#17 dawgbone
October 20 2010, 09:07AM
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Mr. Pederson wrote:

Nice one LT. Agreed that the monetary considerations should come second. Hall looks pretty good out there, I don't see any reason you need to rush him back to junior. Making some cheeky plays and showing confidence, hasn't cashed any of them to the extent we like but it'll come, and as you say if he's read for this level, he should be allowed to adjust to it.

And I feel if you send him down now so that you have his rights longer, you're either creating or at least allowing to exist an environment where a player skipping town when he hits UFA status is not only considered allowable but almost encouraged. It's like "we have you now you bastard and we're keeping you around as long as we damn well can and there's not a damn thing you can do about it!!" It doesn't feel like good faith between management and its players and I don't think is conducive to healthy team building. I feel that if we let these youngsters grow together and enjoy playing here, they won't necessarily be running for the exits when they're eligile.

I think sending him down for contract reasons sends the message we still view playing for the Oilers like being in the jail of the NHL

This argument has come up several times and I don't think it holds up.

Is there a single example of a player who did this? His team held him back and he bolted first chance he had because of it?

I can't recall one.

But I do know 2 players who were kept out of the NHL (one was for contract reasons) who looked pretty ready. Jason Spezza and Bobby Ryan, both of whom signed long term deals with the teams who held them out.

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#18 Rick
October 20 2010, 09:13AM
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I would like to see some kind of AHL exemption for top draft picks. I doubt it would happen but clearly there seems to be a need for some middle ground.

Without it, I am on the side of keeping him in the NHL. I believe more in the notion of a young player needing a year in the NHL under his belt before becoming a real contributor as opposed to drawing some arbitrary line based on age.

In Hall's case I think he is showing enough to suggest that he isn't out of place at the NHL level. That's gives him enough of a base line to grow from with out getting overwhelmed.

The contract issue is overblown. Sure you risk losing him 2 years early but if your GM's plan is to build a team for a one or two year window you need another GM.

Why focus on potentially losing him at 25 vs 27 at all? Assuming he pans out the plan should be to keep him past 25 and 27 rendering the point irrelevant.

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#19 Crackenbury
October 20 2010, 09:13AM
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From a pure hockey viewpoint, send Hall back to junior. He's not going to be the catalyst that sends the Oilers over the top this year and into the playoffs. People say he's done all he can do in junior. Well, one more year of getting bigger, stronger and more mature isn't going to stunt his development. It also opens up a spot to look at other older rookies.

From a short-term business viewpoint, I doubt very much the Oilers will be sending him back. Hall represents hope for the future and most fans would see sending him back as having chosen the wrong guy. For that reason it's not gonna happen.

The good news is, neither decision is terribly wrong and a decision either way may end up working out for the best. No worries for me with whatever happens.

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#20 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 20 2010, 09:14AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I am slightly torn on Hall. He is clearly the least ready to be playing in the NHL out of all the rookies on the club. No doubt Hall until 27 is better than Hall until 25 (although I wonder if the Oilers dont sign him to a crazy long deal after his ELC anyway), but will a year in juniour acually help him be more NHL ready?

It didnt help Kadri all that much. Hall would go back to Juniour and dominate the same way he always has. Which 17 year old defenseman is going to challenge him? How many future excellent beer league goalies are going to force him to refine his moves?

So outside of physical development (that doesnt seem like the issue right now), how much better of a hockey player will another year in Windsor make him?

That leaves (IMO) just the contract as the big benefit. Well if he's the player the Oilers hope he is after his ELC then they're going to offer him a big contract anyway. My guess is that the Oilers will probably have him signed until he's at least 27 no matter which way this plays out.

Confidence would be another issue to consider. To me anyways, he's already looking a bit frazzled out there.

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#21 jonrmcleod
October 20 2010, 09:16AM
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LT, I just put "Twelve Angry Men" on hold at the library. I hope it's as good as you say.

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#22 speeds
October 20 2010, 09:19AM
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@Jason T

The thing that I don't really understand here, in terms of the fans needing to "be patient", is that the more patient route is actually to send Hall back to junior. So, one could argue that keeping him now is more impatient than the alternative of sending him back to junior.

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#23 Jason T
October 20 2010, 09:19AM
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I listen to Gregor like most, and I think there is a lot to say about the "vocal minority" here, it applies. None of my buddies are thinking this stuff. I honestly can't name one? I keep hearing it on the radio and IMO, they're the one's making the issue, and the "vocal minority" phones in. The "silent majority" is sitting back and watching the development, knowing there will be up's and downs. Stamkos didn't do a whole lot until the 2nd half of his first year. The same can be said for Sam Gagner. Most of us realize this. Not the other way around.

I do think MacT's line to Rishaug on a question asked of Mac one time applies, "How about you ask the questions and I'll provide the opinion instead of giving your opinion in the question". Something like that.

This is media driven IMO.

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#24 Archaeologuy
October 20 2010, 09:19AM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

Well we have 5 more games to figure it all out. I also thinks he looks a little frazzled out there.

When I watch him play I see the same things that Hemsky used to do as a youngster. He holds onto the puck too long and tries to make some fancy deke move that is destined to fail against 90% of NHL defensemen instead of making a simpler play. It will come eventually I'm sure.

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#25 Woodguy
October 20 2010, 09:22AM
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WallyWallcakes wrote:

Having the league look at sending 18-year-olds to the AHL is absolutely ludicrous. If you do that, you might as well get rid of the entire Canadian Hockey League, because it'll become nothing more than midget hockey.

If you want to change something, make it so NHL teams can't draft a player until he's 20, thus allowing teams to send the player back to junior, or down to the American League.

Yes, it would then change the NHL's way of writing contracts in terms of UFA eligibility, but I don't see any scenario where you can start sending 18 year olds to the AHL without severely crippling the CHL.

Why exactly should the NHL care about the CHL?

Given the significant portion of CHL ownership by NHL execs, former execs, former players and even an organization like Rexall Sports, the relationship is cozy, but they are sacrificing individual player development on the alter of CHL ticket sales.

In a vacuum the NHL shouldn't give one crap about the CHL losing high profile 18 year olds, its actually in the NHL's best interest that these players develop properly for the NHL, not sell tickets for the CHL.

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#26 Jason T
October 20 2010, 09:29AM
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How is the "patient" route back to junior? Is another year in the OHL helping his development? That is the question. My feeling personally is no. Not one bloody bit.

Patience is watching what we're seeing. A guy learning his way. A guy making mistakes.

Worrying about a contract has nothing to do with the player's development. PERIOD.

I'm so sick of Edmonton fans so worried about money. If he's good enough, he'll get the money. And that is a good thing for the Edmonton Oilers. If he's getting paid, the Oilers did well. At least that's the way I look at it.

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#27 TSNRyanRishaug
October 20 2010, 09:31AM
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This is an impotant issue, and while I normally don't wade too deep into the blogosphere, I wanted to toss in a few cents on this one.

Hall has accomplished everything there is to accomplish in junior hockey. The only thing that waits for him there is another year to let the bad habbits sink in. This isnt a criticism of Taylor, just fact. Players who dominate the way he does invariably start to take shortcuts, its human nature. It is time for him to learn the pro game, and start to weed out some of those bad habbits, so the real development can begin, and the sooner that happens, the sooner he reaches his full potential. This notion that they have to wait another year before they let this horse out of the stall is simply delaying the process by a year. At some point, Taylor hall has to be an NHL rookie, and the only difference between doing it now and doing it next year is a year of physical development for him. Anyone who's been around taylor and sees first hand his build, and raw athleticism knows, he's physically ready for the step now.

As for the contract status, I firmly believe this comes a distant second on the priority list to whats best for development on the ice. The Oilers cant concern themselves with seven years down the road, or even three years when he reaches rfa status. There's no way of knowing if Taylor will want to remain here into his late twenties or not, he doesnt even know that right now. People in this city need to get over the notion that nobody wants to be here. If the Oilers build a competitive winning team that has a chance to compete each year, players will come here, and good players will stay here. Players who don't want to come to Edmonton make that decision because the franchise has not had a good reputation around the league in many of the areas the GM has recently changed..thats the reason he is making changes. If they compete, players will come and players will stay. The fans need to quit expecting management to be guided by paranioa. Anyone ever been to Detroit in the winter??? I have!!

As for burning a year of his deal, and the impact it has on Hemsky and Penner (ufa after next season).. will there be enough money ect? This franchise is rebuilding around Hall as the centrepiece. If in three years he's so good that the oilers have to hand him a pile of dough, chances are the team is better, and on a pretty good path. Penner and hemsky will have to decide for themselves by the middle of next season if they believe in what's happening or not. If they do, they'll make it work, if they don't they won't re-up, and they'll be dealt for assets. This franchise rebuilding isnt based around Penner and Hemsky staying forever. These are very good NHL players who are here to stabilize things for the young players, and perhaps be part of a winner in a few years.

My main point is this.. Stop overthinking it. Taylor Hall is an elite prospect, and as he develops, they'll make decision that allow things to fall into place around him. Along with Eberle, paajarvi and a growing list of good young players,there appears to be potential here, but priority one is developing this player, and that makes the decision easy... that's why he's staying.

And for the record, this MSM member doesnt think anyone who suggests otherwise sits in sweat pants, eating cheezies and drinking coke.. They've just wrapped themselves in knots overthinking it. Hall stays, if Eberle and Paajarvi struggle, they'll spend some time in the AHL..and come back up when they're fixed. Sounds better than Hall in Windsor, Paajarvi in Sweden, and Eberle playing with O'sullivan and Pouliot doesn't it??

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#28 Archaeologuy
October 20 2010, 09:36AM
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@TSNRyanRishaug

Thanks for throwing in your 2 cents. Feel free to do it more often. The conversation only gets better when more plugged in guys participate.

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#29 Jason T
October 20 2010, 09:38AM
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Because the CHL is where the (most) NHL player comes from. No CHL = No NHL development. And then the NHL can develop their own junior league and pay the whole shot. When 99% of the kids in the CHL don't make the NHL, why should the CHL cator to them?

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#30 magisterrex
October 20 2010, 09:39AM
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Just don't see anything that Hall has left to prove in junior, and can't see him being motivated to do so.

The contract issue is straight beancounting, and not asset management. A GM needs to balance player development with saving money; there's no point to saving a few bucks if the player is going to stagnate where you put him. Players like Hall need the challenge of stepping up, adjusting their game, and finding their groove.

Four games in and people are ready to send Hall back. Things get a little crazy around here sometimes.

As an aside, I wish there was an exception rule in the AHL for 18 years olds. One per team, reviewed by an AHL player development committee of some sort. It would be nice to take the guys who need a higher compete level than junior and throw them into a league that they'll have to keep up, without going directly to the big show.

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#31 Ender
October 20 2010, 09:39AM
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LT already mentioned the marketing argument whereby Hall is making money for the Oilers this year by playing on the big club. I think that has more weight than some people give it credit for.

Another, stronger, argument though is the one regarding Taylor Hall's salary this season. He's currently earning the rookie max for the NHL and a hefty 7-figure bonus if his performance is good. Demote him and most of that coin evaporates. 'Awwwwwww, tough titty, Taylor', some people might say, 'You're young and there's always next year.' Well, the Oilers could do that, but I don't think Taylor is going to forget those millions of dollars going up in smoke quite as quickly as everyone else. He'll remember, and he might also wonder who at this point has performed so much better than him that they deserve a shot on the team ahead of him.

I'm not a really big Hall fan. Like a few other regular Citizens, I'm watching Seguin's numbers closely for the next several seasons. Even if I did have feelings for the Golden Child, I'd still have to respect the fact that he's easily the weakest thus far of the Big Three starting this year. Everything else aside, though, who deserves to earn the money more than Hall at this point based on their ability to score points in Edmonton this season? Omark? Vande Velde? I'd have a hard time justifying that to myself, let alone Hall.

If the arguments for player development and marketing don't sway you, maybe the thought of Taylor Hall adding Steve Tambellini to his Top Ten People to Have Whacked When I'm Rich list speaks to you.

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#32 Woodguy
October 20 2010, 09:44AM
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@TSNRyanRishaug

Rishaug said:

"Players who don't want to come to Edmonton make that decision because the franchise has not had a good reputation around the league in many of the areas the GM has recently changed..thats the reason he is making changes. If they compete, players will come and players will stay. "

I agree that good players want to play on a good team regardless of where it is.

The question about the Oiler management changing things is a little slipperier though.

Tell me how JFJ, and extra AHL goalie, a 3 min/night goon, Strudwick, Vandermeer and redundant players like Cogliano and Brule actually help this team compete?

Most people have nothing but patience for the kids.

A lot of us are out of patience for this management group.

Look at Florida, they are supposed to be rebuilding too>

They fleshed out their roster with players like Reinprect, Reasoner, Stillman, Higgins, Bernier and others, and they will make the playoffs.

The Oiler management adds terrible players to support these quality kids then tell us to be patient?

Tambellini did a good job getting rid of a bunch a deadwood last year, but he signed terrible players to take their place. That is what most of us don't have patience with anymore.

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#33 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 20 2010, 09:45AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Well we have 5 more games to figure it all out. I also thinks he looks a little frazzled out there.

When I watch him play I see the same things that Hemsky used to do as a youngster. He holds onto the puck too long and tries to make some fancy deke move that is destined to fail against 90% of NHL defensemen instead of making a simpler play. It will come eventually I'm sure.

Agreed, not saying the decision needs to be made today. Just that confidence needs to be a part of the equation.

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#34 Woodguy
October 20 2010, 09:46AM
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Jason T wrote:

Because the CHL is where the (most) NHL player comes from. No CHL = No NHL development. And then the NHL can develop their own junior league and pay the whole shot. When 99% of the kids in the CHL don't make the NHL, why should the CHL cator to them?

CHL exists because its a money making enterprise, not because the NHL needs players.

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#35 @Oilanderp
October 20 2010, 09:47AM
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Good point LT that this question of Hall's future IS in fact a rationally debatable. Yes, there would be benefits to the organization to send Hall to junior (longer time to UFA, save $3.8 mil). However, it is my belief that you should ice the best team you possibly can. So the question is, WHO in the Oilers' system deserves the roster spot more than Hall? Who do you call up? Reddox? Giroux? Moran? Who then fills the gaps created in OKC? The question of Hall's future seems a little more accessible when we frame the issue thus: If not Hall, then who?

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#36 PabstBR55
October 20 2010, 09:49AM
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@TSNRyanRishaug

Let's pretend that all the players on the Oilers roster are like assets on a company's balance sheet.

Taylor Hall is an asset that can begin to depreciate when he plays his 10th NHL game, or begin to depreciate next season.

The argument is one of basic accounting - 10 managers out of 10 would want to maximize the value of an asset and make sure they got the best production out of it before it fully depreciated.

Therefore, if we feel that Hall will be more valuable 8 years from now than he will be today, it is perfectly logical to want to send him back to Junior to learn to play Centre.

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#37 speeds
October 20 2010, 09:51AM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Good point LT that this question of Hall's future IS in fact a rationally debatable. Yes, there would be benefits to the organization to send Hall to junior (longer time to UFA, save $3.8 mil). However, it is my belief that you should ice the best team you possibly can. So the question is, WHO in the Oilers' system deserves the roster spot more than Hall? Who do you call up? Reddox? Giroux? Moran? Who then fills the gaps created in OKC? The question of Hall's future seems a little more accessible when we frame the issue thus: If not Hall, then who?

If the Oilers were interested in icing the best roster they could, they would not have re-signed players like Strudwick, Dubnyk, Deslauriers, Jacques, and MacIntyre, they'd have signed players like Frolov, Moore, Biron/Ellis, Brett Clark, etc. on one or two year deals with the >$10mil they have available in cap room.

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#39 Archaeologuy
October 20 2010, 09:58AM
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@PabstBR55

But the Oilers cant control how Hall will be used in Windsor. He may never play a game at centre, he may never spend a minute on the PK, and he might not learn a damn thing playing against 17 year olds.

10 out of 10 managers would NOT send Hall to juniour, otherwise it would be a regular event for 1st overall picks to be sent down to Juniour. That just isnt the case. It takes special circumstances for these kids to be sent down, and I'm not sure Hall meets the circumstances.

If the Oilers thought that drafting a 1st line centreman was the best thing for the club then they had their chance to take one. I doubt that sending Hall to the CHL to learn how to be an NHL centreman is high on their priority list.

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#40 TSNRyanRishaug
October 20 2010, 09:58AM
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NHLnumbers.com, and Capgeek.com aren't required when trying to figure out if Hall should be here or not. One single solitary question is all that's needed. Whats best for the development of this player? That's why I think those who arm themselves with salary charts, and the CBA in this argument are overthinking it. I'm all for meaningfull debate, love it in fact, but to me this one's simple.

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#41 C-DOG
October 20 2010, 10:02AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

It's been interesting to watch the transition from "if he earns a spot in camp with his play he needs to be here" to "it's early, give him time".

I think (hope?) we all knew he was unlikely to be worth his $3.75 MM cap hit this season. Combine that with the long-term UFA ramifications of having him play this year, and the fiscal/cap angle to this is clear: send Hall to junior.

Certainly I don't think Hall's entitled by right of draft pedigree to a spot, but many do, and I think that's where the MSM is coming from: that all first overall picks deserve a spot immediately.

Sending him to junior only makes sense if you are changing his position to centre with an agreement from Windsor, he is a late b-day and has already dominated 3 years on the wing, they need a star to develop asap to help make it an attractive place to play. Paajarvi was already signed for 1 more year in sweden and did not have to come over yet, having 3 kid at the same time will cause problems for elc reasons only.

UFA at 25 is not a concern as most stars are signed to a long term contract well beyond 25 once their elc is up.

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#42 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 20 2010, 10:03AM
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TSNRyanRishaug wrote:

NHLnumbers.com, and Capgeek.com aren't required when trying to figure out if Hall should be here or not. One single solitary question is all that's needed. Whats best for the development of this player? That's why I think those who arm themselves with salary charts, and the CBA in this argument are overthinking it. I'm all for meaningfull debate, love it in fact, but to me this one's simple.

We say that now, but if his next contract costs us 1-2 depth player that would have put the team in Cup contention... well...

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#43 Ender
October 20 2010, 10:03AM
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PabstBR55 wrote:

Taylor Hall is an asset that can begin to depreciate when he plays his 10th NHL game, or begin to depreciate next season.

You can tell yourself that Hall is simply an 'asset' all you like, but the fact remains he's not an android that we can just power off when we no longer need him; he's a thinking, breathing human being with real opinions and emotions the same as you or I. Whatever happens to him now will shape the decisions he makes in the future, and I don't know how favorable those decisions will be toward the Oilers if he remains simply an 'asset' in their eyes.

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#44 speeds
October 20 2010, 10:04AM
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Jason T wrote:

How is the "patient" route back to junior? Is another year in the OHL helping his development? That is the question. My feeling personally is no. Not one bloody bit.

Patience is watching what we're seeing. A guy learning his way. A guy making mistakes.

Worrying about a contract has nothing to do with the player's development. PERIOD.

I'm so sick of Edmonton fans so worried about money. If he's good enough, he'll get the money. And that is a good thing for the Edmonton Oilers. If he's getting paid, the Oilers did well. At least that's the way I look at it.

I think it's an open question whether another year of junior will help his development. And I think, if they send him to junior having an understanding with Windsor that he WILL play C, I think there's a very good argument that another year in junior could well be beneficial.

I sent an e-mail to Bob on Monday's Oilers Lunch, and I brought up the name of Sidney Crosby, which was misinterpreted as a comparison of the two players (not sure if I worded the e-mail poorly, or what).

I was not meaning to compare Hall and Crosby as players. I was comparing Hall at 18 going back to junior the next season (which would be this season) with Crosby going back to junior for his pre-draft season, which was 04/5. If anyone was going to be stunted by going back to junior, one could argue it was more likely to be Crosby than it would be Hall, because Crosby was a far better player. And if Crosby wasn't stunted* having to play in a league where he was beyond dominant, far more dominant than Hall has been in the OHL, why would an inferior player in Hall be stunted, or hurt developmentally? Even that is ignoring the possibility of having him work at playing a new position, C, in an easier league than the NHL, as well as the likelyhood (?) that Windsor will not be as strong a team as last year.

As for money, I'm not worried about it in the sense of thinking EDM should send him down to save 900K. The Oilers have shown a willingness to burn far more than that, the actual money paid is a non-issue for me.

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#45 OilFan
October 20 2010, 10:12AM
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If anyone read the paper yesterday. Renney said that if he as the final say Hall will be with the big club all year.

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#46 VMR
October 20 2010, 10:14AM
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@PabstBR55

I agree with Rishaug, when you start looking at it in terms of "basic accounting" and "depreciating assets" you are over thinking things. You are planning for 8 years in the future and ignoring what needs to be done right now to make that player valuable.

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#47 mc79hockey
October 20 2010, 10:17AM
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NHLnumbers.com, and Capgeek.com aren't required when trying to figure out if Hall should be here or not. One single solitary question is all that's needed. Whats best for the development of this player?

I can understand people who reach different conclusions than me on this. I don't understand how you (not just you personally, but everyone who takes this view) can't acknowledge that you have to consider more than just the development of the player. It's simply not the only issue. Even if it's the most important issue, there are other factors to consider.

Like I say, I can understand disagreeing with the conclusion I've reached. I can't understand denying that there are other factors to consider.

Put it this way: assume, for the sake of discussion that you were told that if you held Taylor Hall back a year, he'd be 98% of the player he'll be if he starts in the NHL this year AND he'll agree to sign for $500K a year from now until the end of time. Would you do that deal?

I suspect you would. Of course, once you say yes, we've established that the other issues matter and that they're worthy of debate.

Also - because someone asked me somewhere else: by no means do I think that Hall is a certainty to want out when he's done his seven years. To me, you get better value out of controlling his rights from 19-26 than you do controlling them from 18-25. The NHL now is an efficiency contest and the guy who spends his money most efficiently has the best chance of winning a Stanley Cup which, I assume, is what everyone here wants (it's what I want).

I think that Ryan (and others) have raised fair points about bad habits and all that. I haven't heard much of an answer to the question I've raised though, which is what the Oilers can do to minimize those negative effects. Windsor would, I suspect, be rather interested in having Hall back. Would they agree to really yank the chain on him? Give the Oilers all sorts of access to him? I would think that anything reasonable could be discussed.

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#48 @Oilanderp
October 20 2010, 10:20AM
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speeds wrote:

If the Oilers were interested in icing the best roster they could, they would not have re-signed players like Strudwick, Dubnyk, Deslauriers, Jacques, and MacIntyre, they'd have signed players like Frolov, Moore, Biron/Ellis, Brett Clark, etc. on one or two year deals with the >$10mil they have available in cap room.

~And don't forget to not have traded Pronger~. I didn't mean to suggest I wanted to talk about possible teams. What I meant was we should ice the best team from the players we HAVE. Everyone knows why Struddy and SMac are signed. Dubnyk, Deslauriers, and Jacques are signed because the organization still sees something in them. Regardless of all that, the question remains: WHO TAKES HALL'S SPOT? I've heard a lot of talk about possibilities for Hall without any mention at all of who exactly we would have play in his spot. Do we ice Storts and MacIntyre every night? Do we have Reddox come up and kill penalties just so Hall can win a 3rd Memorial Cup MVP? Seems ridiculous when we 'frame the issue' this way.

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#49 OilFan
October 20 2010, 10:22AM
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~ Hall must be a bust ~ Gagner never lit up the league in his first year untill the last couple months. Let's give this kid a chance. Radio and Media guys always over think and try to come accross as they know what the common fan is thinking, it's funny and good radio I guess.

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#50 PabstBR55
October 20 2010, 10:22AM
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@Ender

Ender, the word asset doesn't necessarily apply to a piece of machinery. Hemsky is an asset to our top line, Ender's contributions are an asset to ON, etc.

Smart teams run their organization under a philosophy that has their key assets come to maturity at the same time. This helps keeps the cost of key assets low, while positioning themselves to have a major competitive advantage for a 2-4 year window.

Just because Tampa and NYI decided to play their first overall selections, doesn't mean that convention should dictate what we do. We should be following the model of the Chicago Blackhawks (who sent Toews back to Junior). The Oilers could do the same by sending Hall back to Junior and playing him and 18-year old rookie Nugent-Hopkins next season. Hypothetically.

Frankly, I doubt that Taylor Hall will be sent down. Contrary to what you've previously suggested, it wouldn't cost them a dime in terms of ticket sales or marketing dollars if they did.

It is however hard to argue with the logic that the Oilers will get more value out of season from Taylor Hall during the 2017-2018 season than they will now.

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