TAYLOR HALL: RIGHT WHERE HE BELONGS

Robin Brownlee
December 05 2010 10:13AM

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 23: Taylor Hall  of the Edmonton Oilers awaits a face off during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on November 23, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Oilers 5-0. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

With what we've already seen from Taylor Hall just 26 games into his NHL career, can you imagine him not being a member of the Edmonton Oilers this season? Can you imagine him spending another season with the Windsor Spitfires? I can't. Neither can Ryan Whitney.

"I'd like to talk to the people who were thinking that. That's a good one," laughed Whitney after Hall scored 23 seconds into overtime to beat the St. Louis Blues 2-1 Saturday.

"I told him after he's becoming a pretty effective player, a star almost, in the making. For all those people who were on him in the beginning, it just takes a while. In Game 82 he's going to be even better than he is right now."

What Hall, just weeks past his 19th birthday, is "right now" is coach Tom Renney's most explosive forward. A game-breaker. A difference-maker. A player who puts fans on the edge of their seats, then yanks them to their feet by doing something special.

"He's a special kind of player," added Ryan Jones, who scored the 1-0 goal against the Blues on a goalmouth feed from Magnus Paajarvi. "He does things that I don't even dream of."

Truth is, Hall's doing a lot of things even the most optimistic fan of the Oilers wouldn't have predicted this early in his career. Saturday marked Hall's first overtime winner -- he took as feed from Whitney after Andy McDonald got wiped out in the neutral zone, raced in alone on Jaroslav Halak and sifted a snapshot past him. He has two game-winners.

The kid is getting better shift-by-shift, period-by-period and game-by-game. Talk about a sight for the sore eyes of long-suffering Oilers fans. It's really something to see.

SOMETHING SPECIAL

"I saw him (McDonald) fall and I said, 'I better get on my horse,' "said Hall, who has nine goals. "Once the puck was on my stick, I realized there wasn’t anybody close to me."

Said Renney: "There's all kinds of people on this team you'd love to see have a breakaway in overtime. I have to tell you, he leads the parade, quite honestly."

After a sometimes tentative start to the season, Hall is rolling now with five goals and six points in his last six games against NHL competition. Does he look the least bit overmatched to you? Does he look out of place? Would it be better for Hall and the Oilers for him to be ripping it up with Windsor now? No, no and no.

Contractually speaking, I don't know what's going to happen with Hall six years from now and neither does anybody else. Fans, with what they've seen, are more concerned about the next six shifts, the next six periods, the next six games.

It's becoming obvious that soon, very soon, this is going to be Taylor Hall's team to lead. On nights like Saturday, with a crush of reporters leaning in to talk to him, it feels like it already is. Fans are rejoicing that Hall is here now. As they should.

THIS AND THAT...

-- Everybody remembers how the Oilers went in the tank after that five-game winning streak they put together last December as they went on to lose 20 of their next 21 games. One of the worst stretches of hockey I've seen by this team since the mid-1990s.

So, what's your over-and-under for wins in the next 20 games, counting Saturday as the first one? The schedule, which includes 11 more home games in that stretch, looks relatively favourable. I'm saying 10 wins.

-- How many people picked Jones to be among the Oilers top-nine forwards in scoring for the Lucky 13 Pool? Jones goal against the Blues was his six of the season. Might he get 20?

-- Whitney laughed out loud last night when I told him my over-and-under for him on assists before he scores his first goal is 22. Does he pick up a helper against Anaheim Tuesday and then score a goal?

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#101 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 06 2010, 08:10AM
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@michael

"Do we really think that Tambo is going to be handing out 2.5 million dollar contracts to a #6 defenceman? Or 2 million to a 4th line plugger"

Well he did give 1.8 to Foster who would be no better then a 5 on most good teams, I believe he also offerd juicy contracts too Boogard and Chris Neil.

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#102 Joe
December 06 2010, 08:20AM
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OIL78 wrote:

I think this whole discussion is clouded by peoples underlying desire for the outcome of this season. I believe the "send them down" crew are also the guys longing for another lotto pick, at any cost, and therefore secretly loathing wins.

Not to say having kids up here helps us win per say, but at this moment in time, it's helping. I'd be curious to know how many of you guys arguing they should have been kept down will be devastated if we do mediocre, and not extremely poor in the standings this season. I believe the real issue here, is that people want a lotto pick at all costs, and are letting that desire creep into this discussion.

Because its ridiculous to say that sending Hall down would have helped his development, or his passion for being an Oiler long term as what he has done so far this season. If the kid wants to leave in 6 years its going to have a ton more about the process that occurred in those years than money or anything else.

No you are wrong. The send them back to junior to save on contract group really don't understand hockey at its most fundamental level. Oh sure they get the financial details and I bet they would be super great guys in the accounting department but those guys don't run hockey teams.

Anyone who is in the know(which is something that drives those kinds of guys nuts, "wink" @Tyler")knows that sending Hall down would have been one of the most idiotic things for the Oilers to do.

The funny thing with the way he is playing now it justifies keeping him here now more than ever. The bloggers and mathaletes are nashing there collective teeth in dismay that they are being proven wrong once again

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#103 Joe
December 06 2010, 08:27AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

"Do we really think that Tambo is going to be handing out 2.5 million dollar contracts to a #6 defenceman? Or 2 million to a 4th line plugger"

Well he did give 1.8 to Foster who would be no better then a 5 on most good teams, I believe he also offerd juicy contracts too Boogard and Chris Neil.

Foster is playing as number 4 D getting alot of sweet PP time. He is a bargin at 1.8. Jimmy V is "overpaid" number 5 but his contract is up after this year. Theo and Struddy are number 6 and 7 getting paid like it.

He offered Boogarrd 3 years at 1.2 million per and he took the Rangers @ 1.6 for 4 years. You think he knows that all those ELCs are up after 3 years or something

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#104 speeds
December 06 2010, 08:32AM
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Joe wrote:

No you are wrong. The send them back to junior to save on contract group really don't understand hockey at its most fundamental level. Oh sure they get the financial details and I bet they would be super great guys in the accounting department but those guys don't run hockey teams.

Anyone who is in the know(which is something that drives those kinds of guys nuts, "wink" @Tyler")knows that sending Hall down would have been one of the most idiotic things for the Oilers to do.

The funny thing with the way he is playing now it justifies keeping him here now more than ever. The bloggers and mathaletes are nashing there collective teeth in dismay that they are being proven wrong once again

The "funny thing" is, if you think Hall's play now "proves" the bloggers wrong, you're showing that you either don't, and haven't, truly understood their argument, or are creating and arguing against a strawman.

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#105 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 06 2010, 08:42AM
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Joe wrote:

Foster is playing as number 4 D getting alot of sweet PP time. He is a bargin at 1.8. Jimmy V is "overpaid" number 5 but his contract is up after this year. Theo and Struddy are number 6 and 7 getting paid like it.

He offered Boogarrd 3 years at 1.2 million per and he took the Rangers @ 1.6 for 4 years. You think he knows that all those ELCs are up after 3 years or something

Yes, he's playing as a number 4 on arguably the worst defense in the league. Faint praise indeed.

FWIW it was reported Boogard was offerd 7 over 4... or 1.75 per.

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#106 Joe
December 06 2010, 08:44AM
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speeds wrote:

The "funny thing" is, if you think Hall's play now "proves" the bloggers wrong, you're showing that you either don't, and haven't, truly understood their argument, or are creating and arguing against a strawman.

The argument was based on purely a financial perspective. Not a hockey one. If you start to operate purely from a financial point of view in any sport you are not doing things the right way.

That was what the argument boiled down too.

It wasn't what was best for Taylor Hall or what is best for the Oilers. It was what is the best thing financially the Oilers can do.

If the Oilers listened to that kind of BS Hall would be back in Junior bored as hell. It is not the right thing for him from a hockey point of view.

Seriously go back to your cube in the accounting floor and punch some numbers.

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#107 Joe
December 06 2010, 08:49AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Yes, he's playing as a number 4 on arguably the worst defense in the league. Faint praise indeed.

FWIW it was reported Boogard was offerd 7 over 4... or 1.75 per.

Why because some NY writer says so? I got it form the horse's mouth that the Oilers offered him 1.2 for 3 years but the Rangers were offering 1.6 for 3 then went up to 1.6 for 4 so he signed there. He wanted to play here so his family could come to more games

But if you want to believe Brooks in NY go ahead

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#108 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 06 2010, 08:55AM
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Joe wrote:

Why because some NY writer says so? I got it form the horse's mouth that the Oilers offered him 1.2 for 3 years but the Rangers were offering 1.6 for 3 then went up to 1.6 for 4 so he signed there. He wanted to play here so his family could come to more games

But if you want to believe Brooks in NY go ahead

Brooks might be a bit of a turd, but I think most will take his word over "Joe's"

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#109 Joe
December 06 2010, 09:02AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Brooks might be a bit of a turd, but I think most will take his word over "Joe's"

As is your right to do so. But why you would trust a mouthpiece for NY is beyond me.

It is not those kinds of contracts the sub 2 million ones that are going to get you into cap trouble.

Chicago, which the mathaletes love to use as an example, were in cap trouble because of the albatross contract Campbell has and the long term deals they gave Hossa and Bolland. Not that Hossa is money for the dollar but Bolland will under perform that contract during the regular season.

You can miss fire on the 1 to 1.5 million dollar contracts you can't miss fire on the ones over 5 Million ala Horcoff

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#110 stevezie
December 06 2010, 09:39AM
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@Joe

There are a few things here you don't really seem to be grasping.

1. Brooks is a mouthpiece in New York, and you're a mouthpiece in Edmonton, neither one of you is anyone proven to know anything. He is an accredited sports writer, you're a dude on a message board. If we can't take his word we sure as hell can't take yours, even if you are right. Can you see that?

2. You talk about math with the vitriol of someone who couldn't seem to pass it; calm down. The "mathletes'" argument was operational, not financial. They were trying to maximize the amount of time he was obligated to spend with the oilers. You could criticize the argument for putting the oilers' long term roster needs over Hall's development, but don't act like they were trying to save Katz money.

No matter who's story is true, hearing that Tambo offered BoogyMan anything made me lose all faith in him; he'd be like a Macintyre we were obligated to play every night. Anyone who would pay him 1.6 mil deserves to pay him 1.6 mil.

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#111 speeds
December 06 2010, 09:49AM
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Joe wrote:

The argument was based on purely a financial perspective. Not a hockey one. If you start to operate purely from a financial point of view in any sport you are not doing things the right way.

That was what the argument boiled down too.

It wasn't what was best for Taylor Hall or what is best for the Oilers. It was what is the best thing financially the Oilers can do.

If the Oilers listened to that kind of BS Hall would be back in Junior bored as hell. It is not the right thing for him from a hockey point of view.

Seriously go back to your cube in the accounting floor and punch some numbers.

The was not what the argument boiled down to - you can't boil the argument down to one thing because it was complex enough that there was more than one consideration.

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#112 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 06 2010, 09:58AM
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Joe wrote:

As is your right to do so. But why you would trust a mouthpiece for NY is beyond me.

It is not those kinds of contracts the sub 2 million ones that are going to get you into cap trouble.

Chicago, which the mathaletes love to use as an example, were in cap trouble because of the albatross contract Campbell has and the long term deals they gave Hossa and Bolland. Not that Hossa is money for the dollar but Bolland will under perform that contract during the regular season.

You can miss fire on the 1 to 1.5 million dollar contracts you can't miss fire on the ones over 5 Million ala Horcoff

Hmmmm, looks alot like a post a mathalete would come up with.

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#113 Archaeologuy
December 06 2010, 10:45AM
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@speeds

Speeds, the argument to keep Hall down really can be boiled down to what Joe noted about it because after that point it hold absolutely no water.

It is a losing position because it isnt feasible in the real world. It's an academic excercise because no one would really ever do it, and if they did the ramifications would kill the Oilers.

All of a sudden being drafted by the Oilers is a punishment, players and agents have even more reasons to avoid the Oil, Taylor Hall begins his Oiler career waiting to leave, and rest of the club is left with a bad taste in their mouth knowing the club isnt icing the best team available.

Sending Hall down at the beggining of the year was a poorly thought out plan. There's nothing else to it.

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#114 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 06 2010, 10:49AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Speeds, the argument to keep Hall down really can be boiled down to what Joe noted about it because after that point it hold absolutely no water.

It is a losing position because it isnt feasible in the real world. It's an academic excercise because no one would really ever do it, and if they did the ramifications would kill the Oilers.

All of a sudden being drafted by the Oilers is a punishment, players and agents have even more reasons to avoid the Oil, Taylor Hall begins his Oiler career waiting to leave, and rest of the club is left with a bad taste in their mouth knowing the club isnt icing the best team available.

Sending Hall down at the beggining of the year was a poorly thought out plan. There's nothing else to it.

"It is a losing position because it isnt feasible in the real world."

I don't know about that, where is the line drawn then? Is it ok to send down 2nd, 3rd, 4th overall picks? Just not #1?

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#115 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 06 2010, 11:20AM
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Also, I think we need to forget about Taylor Hall specifically, the theory should more just be applied to all high end prospects (not to mention the conversation seems to emotionally charged with Hall as the centerpiece.). You also get more leverage as you move down the draft scale as the top 1-2 picks are already paid close to 4 million right off the bat, while moving outside the top 5 you quickly get close to million dollar players.

For example a guy like Magnus could easly be a 4.5 - 5 million dollar player in his 23-24 year old season, and we could have had the opportunity to have that at 1.5 million cap hit.

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#116 Joe
December 06 2010, 11:21AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

"It is a losing position because it isnt feasible in the real world."

I don't know about that, where is the line drawn then? Is it ok to send down 2nd, 3rd, 4th overall picks? Just not #1?

Yes it is

And Archeologuy wrote it much better than I could write.

The point is from a hockey view the Oilers did the correct thing.

Yes I despise mathaletes and in this case there attempt to sabotage the Oilers number 1 pick was very poorly done. Its funny that the Oiler blogosphere would fall under the sway of a Lawyer from Toronto. Who cares what Bobby Orr says lets listen to some lawyer from TO about how to run the Oilers. Give me a break

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#117 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 06 2010, 11:36AM
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Joe wrote:

Yes it is

And Archeologuy wrote it much better than I could write.

The point is from a hockey view the Oilers did the correct thing.

Yes I despise mathaletes and in this case there attempt to sabotage the Oilers number 1 pick was very poorly done. Its funny that the Oiler blogosphere would fall under the sway of a Lawyer from Toronto. Who cares what Bobby Orr says lets listen to some lawyer from TO about how to run the Oilers. Give me a break

Looks like someone has an ax to grind.

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#118 BarryS
December 06 2010, 12:46PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

I think your best player making 6 mill+ is not the problem, paying 6 mill + for a 4 - 5 place defenceman is the problem. Seems to me Hawk's problems resulted from playing lessor players to much. They had to trade players because they had a large untradeable contract and some of the traded players got more money because of a missed deadline.

It is highly unlikely in the future the Oilers will be paying big bucks to lessor players like they did in the past. It seems to me there is general downward pressure on all but the true star players. As it stands, of the young players, Hall, Eberly and perhaps Dubnyk will be in line for larger increases, Gagner, too, if he continues to improve. The days of players 6 to 14 and D 4 - 6 getting big bucks are over.

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#119 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 06 2010, 01:15PM
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BarryS wrote:

I think your best player making 6 mill+ is not the problem, paying 6 mill + for a 4 - 5 place defenceman is the problem. Seems to me Hawk's problems resulted from playing lessor players to much. They had to trade players because they had a large untradeable contract and some of the traded players got more money because of a missed deadline.

It is highly unlikely in the future the Oilers will be paying big bucks to lessor players like they did in the past. It seems to me there is general downward pressure on all but the true star players. As it stands, of the young players, Hall, Eberly and perhaps Dubnyk will be in line for larger increases, Gagner, too, if he continues to improve. The days of players 6 to 14 and D 4 - 6 getting big bucks are over.

Why does everyone want to cloud the issue?

Yes Campbells contract was a big reason they lost depth. That doesn't change the fact that Toews/Kane going from a 6.5 million in cap hit to 12.6 million in cap hit was *also* a reason they lost players.

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#120 positivebrontefan
December 06 2010, 02:06PM
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tommyboy wrote:

Hey Robin...was that you getting all agitated in the background of the Khabby interview on national tv?

Wow Robin, you're half the man you used to be!

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#122 Wanyes bastard child
December 06 2010, 07:36PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Not half as agitated as I used to get, either . . .

Is there a link for that interview?

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#124 Archaeologuy
December 06 2010, 08:59PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

"It is a losing position because it isnt feasible in the real world."

I don't know about that, where is the line drawn then? Is it ok to send down 2nd, 3rd, 4th overall picks? Just not #1?

It's not about draft position. It doesnt matter about 1, 2, or 3. If the player earns the spot and is clearly not served developmentally playing in the CHL then he shouldnt be sent down.

Spezza was #2 and was sent back because he wasnt good enough defensively to play Centre in the NHL. Years later he still has the same knocks against him, the criticism wasnt some lame excuse to have him playing at age 22 on his ELC.

What was Hall lacking that suggested he wasnt ready for full-time duty on the wing in the NHL? Nothing.

What did he have left to learn and prove in the OHL? Nothing.

So why are we even having this discussion? Because it's fun to argue. That's it.

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#125 positivebrontefan
December 06 2010, 09:16PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

By the way, with Hemsky out for the balance of December, that over/under probably drops from 10 to eight wins. I'd still take under.

You're probably right, looked at the standings and no matter how much Koolaid I drink we are still last in the west. And looking at the schedule most of those 20 games are against west teams.

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