MacGregor spills the beans: Hall will go first!

Robin Brownlee
May 25 2010 11:31PM

Windsor Spitfires Taylor Hall hoists the Memorial Cup after defeating the Brandon Wheat Kings in Brandon

Edmonton Oilers chief scout Stu MacGregor came out and said it Tuesday night -- the Oilers will take Windsor Spitfires star and two-time Memorial Cup winner and MVP Taylor Hall first. Then, they'll take Tyler Seguin.

Now that I've got your attention, I'm talking, of course, about the order of interviews being conducted by an Edmonton contingent that includes MacGregor, GM Steve Tambellini, president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe and OHL scouts Kent Hawley and Brad Davis at the NHL Combine in Toronto.

Having interviewed 22 players Tuesday, the Oilers will be sitting down with Hall on Wednesday for a 20-minute session just before the lunch hour. They will interview Seguin Thursday.

So, does who goes first in the poke-and-prod sessions between Hall and Seguin telegraph who goes first on draft day in Los Angeles, where the Oilers have first pick? MacGregor, surprising nobody, isn't saying.

MacGregor's silence aside, don't bet on it.

TALK IS CHEAP

While some people insist player interviews at the combine carry a lot of weight in the decision-making process, and that can be the case if a prospect absolutely soils the sheets in the gab session -- or shows up for the draft with two black eyes like brawler Link Gaetz did back in 1988  -- MacGregor is downplaying the interview.

"It's a minor part of it all," MacGregor said from Toronto after wrapping up interviews on Tuesday. "It's about getting to know them a bit more. We've already had discussions with these kids.

"Steve (Tambellini) wants to make sure we go through the process. Each and every day you look at it and you evaluate it. Maybe you can pick up something you missed."

Realistically, and even if MacGregor won't say it, neither Hall nor Seguin are going to change anybody's mind with what they say in these sessions. MacGregor, himself, has already had two face-to-face talks with Hall and Seguin, as have other members of the Oilers contingent.

Nobody's going to come up with a psyche-probing question that's going to tip the scales, are they? In the case of Hall and Seguin, no.

CAN'T MISS?

While MacGregor declined an invitation to slip me his list on the down-low, I'm still of the mind the Oilers will take Seguin, even with Hall's MVP performance for Windsor at the MC in Brandon.

With the majority of Oilers fans clamouring for Hall in the wake of his playoff performance, many suggesting there's no good reason to take Seguin first overall -- really? -- the call will come down to MacGregor.

One thing perhaps lost in the debate about the dynamic Hall and the talented Seguin, the right-handed centre from the Plymouth Whalers, is that maybe there is no bad pick from this tandem.

"I don't think there's a miss here," MacGregor said. "We've seen both these players a lot and both of them are special for different reasons. Having said that, you want to get the best guy."

Think Seguin. Just saying...

DAMAGED GOODS

I was chatting with Bob Stauffer today and we got around to talking about former Oiler Eric Brewer, and whether it would make sense for Tambellini to pursue him, maybe in a package with tough guy D.J. King.

The Oilers, of course, are thin on the back end beyond Ryan Whitney, Tom Gilbert and Ladislav Smid, if you assume Sheldon Souray is history, which he is. Likewise in the tough guy department, considering the Oilers will likely ice a small and young line-up and are weaklings beyond willing Zack Stortini.

We got to plugging names into scenarios, and Brewer and King came up in the conversation. With Brewer, it's because the Blues might be looking to move him and his $4.25 million cap hit because they have a young, loaded defence that includes Erik Johnson, veteran Barret Jackman and Roman Polak, to name just three, vying for minutes.

King, of course, is an up-and-coming ruffian who can play a little, and he's an RFA who made $550,000 this season. He'll be cheap and he'd fit better into Pat Quinn's "has to be able to play" edict than a re-cycled cop like Georges Laraque or Derek Boogaard.

Brewer, now 31, is worth  his cap hit when healthy, but that's a big "if" when you consider shoulder surgery and back problems have limited him to 87 games the past two seasons.

Even if the Blues would take a Patrick O'Sullivan or Robert Nilsson in a swap, I'd pass on Brewer because of his recent medical history. It makes no sense to spend north of $4 million on a guy who might play fewer than 60 games. The Oilers, for the time being, already have that in Souray.

As for King, 26, I'd make a phone call on him, but the first questions I'd ask are about the right hand injuries (he needed surgery) and shoulder problems he's had. There's some risk with him, too, but it's a $600,000 or $700,000 gamble, not a $4.25-million roll of the dice.

THIS AND THAT

-- I don't get it when some fans espouse the need for the Oilers to acquire an agitator -- fill in the name of your favourite loudmouthed, face-washer-cheapshot-artist here.

If you're talking about adding hard-nosed players who make a team more difficult to play against -- a Steve Ott or a Daniel Carcillo -- fine. If you're talking about the type of players who wag their gums or do much of their handiwork after the whistle, that makes no sense.

The Oilers don't have enough toughness in their line-up to take care of the small, soft players they already have. So how is it they would benefit from bringing in a sh*t-disturber to start stuff they can't finish?

-- MacGregor and the rest of he Oilers staff will take a backseat when prospects go through their fitness testing, starting Friday.

The Oilers contingent will leave it to fitness consultant Simon Bennett to decipher results from the testing sessions.

-- Mark Pysyk of the Edmonton Oil Kings, Nino Niederreiter of the Portland Winter Hawks and Vladimir Tarasenko of Novosibirsk (Russia) are among the top prospects interviewed by the Oilers already.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 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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#201 Archaeologuy
May 26 2010, 09:53PM
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@THEBIGD

The Juniour coaches didnt think Hall was the best Juniour player. They thought it was Eberle. They didnt even think Hall was the best OHL player, that was Seguin. They didnt even call Hall the best prospect, that was Seguin again.

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#202 Eddie Shore
May 26 2010, 09:55PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

So which one of Brule (not a centre), MAP (Barely able to keep a roster spot), O'Marra (WTF!!?!?!?) or Eberle (a right winger) do you consider to be a legit Right-handed centre (One who is defensively responsible and can contribute offensively) for the team going forward?

I'm getting fed up this pushing of Seguin just because he's a "right-handed centre". The Oilers need Hall more than they need Seguin.

I'm getting fed up with this pushing of absolutes like "The Oilers NEED Hall more than they NEED Seguin" coming out of the mouths of people like you who have next to ZERO clue when it comes to what either of these two guys offer, outside of watching a few youtube videos and regurgitating some stats they read over at Lowetide.

My statement was in regards to a commenter nitpicking Brownlee for having the audacity to mention that Seguin is a RH centre. But thank for your contribution.

BELIIII DAT.

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#204 Wanyes bastard child
May 26 2010, 10:42PM
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@Travis Dakin

Dude, stop posting and making sense... your making my finger sore with all the props im giving you.

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#205 RossCreekNation
May 26 2010, 10:52PM
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Is it just me, or do the citizens of the nation seemingly get dumber by the day? Maybe we should start testing...

Anyways, who does everyone think the Oilers should draft 1st?

Off topic (thank god), but I'm just thinking out loud here... St. Louis signs Marty Turco or Dan Ellis. Armstrong is familiar with both and Mason's recent performance didn't help him.

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#206 Wanyes bastard child
May 26 2010, 10:54PM
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@RossCreekNation

Well at least we have citizens on Oilersnation... hows your flamesnation going?

Game, set, match!

:P

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#207 Jasmine
May 26 2010, 11:00PM
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@Travis Dakin

Yes. The reason being that he's a "right-handed centre". A guy from CSS even said that was the reason Seguin was ranked #1 ahead of Hall.

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#208 Jasmine
May 26 2010, 11:01PM
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@Travis Dakin

Sorry, double post.

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#209 RossCreekNation
May 26 2010, 11:02PM
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@Wanyes bastard child

Well... first off, its not "my" flamesnation. Secondly, its actually doing significantly better over the past 4-6 months... mayve you should ask your old man about it ;-)

And how did you twist what I said into any kind of Flames v. Oilers beef... sheeesh!

Seriously, we've got people here blasting the team for not making any moves yet. DUH. We may need to start a de-sterilization process if it gets much worse.

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#210 Jasmine
May 26 2010, 11:03PM
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Once again, he was named top prospect because he's a "right-handed centre".

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#211 RossCreekNation
May 26 2010, 11:12PM
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RE: Kyle Turris

People talk about him like he's a total flop. He was a Jr. A player who played his freshman college season and turned pro. Safe to say, his development is a tad behind (not to mention his physical maturity), but I don't think he's a bust by any stretch. Phoenix did the right thing with him last year and let him develop in the A. Don't confuse that with him being a bust. I'm thinking he turns out to be a pretty good player when it's all said and done.

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#212 Travis Dakin
May 26 2010, 11:17PM
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Jasmine wrote:

Once again, he was named top prospect because he's a "right-handed centre".

So..... this team doesn't want the top prospect? What the hell are you saying?

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#213 Travis Dakin
May 26 2010, 11:17PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Dude, stop posting and making sense... your making my finger sore with all the props im giving you.

Funny, I make my fingers sore from all the props I give me too*.... wait a minute.... uh.... sh*t

*get it? I prop myself and it makes my fingers sore.... double entendre....

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#214 Travis Dakin
May 26 2010, 11:19PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

RE: Kyle Turris

People talk about him like he's a total flop. He was a Jr. A player who played his freshman college season and turned pro. Safe to say, his development is a tad behind (not to mention his physical maturity), but I don't think he's a bust by any stretch. Phoenix did the right thing with him last year and let him develop in the A. Don't confuse that with him being a bust. I'm thinking he turns out to be a pretty good player when it's all said and done.

It's like when Kevin Lowe made fun of Burke for Bobby Ryan not panning out. I think he is whistling a different tune now.

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#215 Jasmine
May 27 2010, 01:05AM
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@Travis Dakin

The best prospect is Taylor Hall, not Tyler Seguin. Seguin is good but he's not the best prospect.

A guy from CSS even admitted the reason Seguin was ranked ahead of Hall was because he was "right-handed centre".

Both Tambellini and MacGregor have said they will be going for BPA and not for position or team needs. To me that means Hall. I believe the Oilers are leaning towards Hall.

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#216 Wanyes bastard child
May 27 2010, 01:52AM
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@Jasmine

I like how you are avoiding Robins reply to you...

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#217 Tracie
May 27 2010, 07:14AM
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Jasmine wrote:

The best prospect is Taylor Hall, not Tyler Seguin. Seguin is good but he's not the best prospect.

A guy from CSS even admitted the reason Seguin was ranked ahead of Hall was because he was "right-handed centre".

Both Tambellini and MacGregor have said they will be going for BPA and not for position or team needs. To me that means Hall. I believe the Oilers are leaning towards Hall.

A guy from CSS admitted they were EQUAL and that TS got rated ahead of TH b/c he was a right handed center. so with ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL, they had to give it to one player and they gave it to TS b/c of position.

The CSS rating TS over TH b/c he was a center doesn't mean that Hall is the better player. THEY ARE EQUAL.

If you think Hall is the better player, fine. But that's your thoughts. Don't go using the CSS as your backer and say that they said Hall was the better player. I read the article you posted and it said that both will be great players and if you watched one play, you would walk away thinking he's your guy, until you watched the other play.

If they are equal, then there is not BPA between the two...so you draft for position. We have tons of wingers coming up and we need a center. I agree that TH shows he's a big game player and has a lot of impressive stats on his resume, but TS is the one that won the OHL and CHL awards. not TH. There has to be a reason. And not just b/c he plays center.

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#218 madjam
May 27 2010, 08:10AM
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Stop Gap Management trend may be our biggest problem ,and may prevent Oilers from developing either Sequin or Hall . It might even prevent us from developing all the other young talent as well . You can't continue or hope to develop young talent with a revolving door of disgruntled usefull veterans wanting out of this organization .

Continuing to fill holes created by good NHL players with downgrades ( stop gap measurements ) has been a nasty trend since the Pronger days . It doesn't work . We have to make trades , etc. that give us an upgrade somewhere along the line . The revolving door of veterans who want out of this organization is serious. Oilers are proof these less than adequate band aid solutions do not work and snowball into even more problems .

Until the Oilers learn the stop gap method does not work , then we may never get other players to come here, or even keep the ones we currently require.

The tools players require to progress and be happy to play and stay here will change when the Oilers are finished filling voids with less than adequate fill ins ! Creating more problems and not filling the old voids has driven us into last place deservedly so . This trend has got to end if we hope to develop and keep our young talent.

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#219 Eddie Shore
May 27 2010, 08:24AM
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madjam wrote:

Stop Gap Management trend may be our biggest problem ,and may prevent Oilers from developing either Sequin or Hall . It might even prevent us from developing all the other young talent as well . You can't continue or hope to develop young talent with a revolving door of disgruntled usefull veterans wanting out of this organization .

Continuing to fill holes created by good NHL players with downgrades ( stop gap measurements ) has been a nasty trend since the Pronger days . It doesn't work . We have to make trades , etc. that give us an upgrade somewhere along the line . The revolving door of veterans who want out of this organization is serious. Oilers are proof these less than adequate band aid solutions do not work and snowball into even more problems .

Until the Oilers learn the stop gap method does not work , then we may never get other players to come here, or even keep the ones we currently require.

The tools players require to progress and be happy to play and stay here will change when the Oilers are finished filling voids with less than adequate fill ins ! Creating more problems and not filling the old voids has driven us into last place deservedly so . This trend has got to end if we hope to develop and keep our young talent.

Oh. My. God. The only thing left to master is the use of punctuation.

What has got you on this "stop-gap" train this morning?

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#220 The Fish
May 27 2010, 08:54AM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Dude, stop posting and making sense... your making my finger sore with all the props im giving you.

Way too much ego stroking going on in here. Boring.

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#221 Ball Buster
May 27 2010, 09:26AM
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Obvious post of the day: On the topic of "Right-handed centre" . . .

I'm pretty sure the term is right shooting centre.

If you're right-handed, you shoot left and there are hundreds of centremen like that.

Seguin is a right-shooting centre, i.e., rare in the NHL.

Back to the tired Hall/Seguin topic, can't remember what post number it was but "Crash" posted the trade idea of Souray, Cogliano etc. to Boston for the Bruins' 1st pick.

As food for thought, here is what went down in 1999 when Burke snagged #2 and #3 (borrowed from HF Boards):

1999-Jun-26 1st Round Draft pick traded from Chicago Blackhawks to Vancouver Canucks for Bryan McCabe and conditional draft pick

1999-Jun-26 1st Round Draft pick traded from Tampa Bay Lightning to Vancouver Canucks for round 1 pick in the 1999 draft , round 3 pick in the 1999 draft and round 3 pick in the 1999 draft

1999-Jun-26 1st Round Draft pick traded from Atlanta Thrashers with round 3 pick in the 2000 draft to Vancouver Canucks for round 1 pick in the 1999 draft

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#222 Travis Dakin
May 27 2010, 09:27AM
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The Fish wrote:

Way too much ego stroking going on in here. Boring.

Are you feeling left out of the gang-bang? Would you like to be stroked too?

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#223 swany
May 27 2010, 09:28AM
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Seguin/Hall Hall/Seguin you know what I'm an Oiler fan and as my posts show I like Hall but Beeing an Oiler fan I will support who ever they pick we all have reasons we want one or the other, on June 25th I hope this debate ends and we just give the 1st pick all the Oilersnation support.

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#224 Travis Dakin
May 27 2010, 09:31AM
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Ball Buster wrote:

Obvious post of the day: On the topic of "Right-handed centre" . . .

I'm pretty sure the term is right shooting centre.

If you're right-handed, you shoot left and there are hundreds of centremen like that.

Seguin is a right-shooting centre, i.e., rare in the NHL.

Back to the tired Hall/Seguin topic, can't remember what post number it was but "Crash" posted the trade idea of Souray, Cogliano etc. to Boston for the Bruins' 1st pick.

As food for thought, here is what went down in 1999 when Burke snagged #2 and #3 (borrowed from HF Boards):

1999-Jun-26 1st Round Draft pick traded from Chicago Blackhawks to Vancouver Canucks for Bryan McCabe and conditional draft pick

1999-Jun-26 1st Round Draft pick traded from Tampa Bay Lightning to Vancouver Canucks for round 1 pick in the 1999 draft , round 3 pick in the 1999 draft and round 3 pick in the 1999 draft

1999-Jun-26 1st Round Draft pick traded from Atlanta Thrashers with round 3 pick in the 2000 draft to Vancouver Canucks for round 1 pick in the 1999 draft

I'm right-handed (as in I write with my right) and I shoot right-handed and golf right-handed and swing a bat right-handed.

And there are 700 players in the NHL. I wouldn't say "hundreds" of them are Right-handed centres who shoot left.

if you want to nitpick...

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#225 MattL
May 27 2010, 09:32AM
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The Fish wrote:

Way too much ego stroking going on in here. Boring.

Props, The Fish, great comment. Couldn't agree more with this brilliant insight.

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#226 Ball Buster
May 27 2010, 09:53AM
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@Travis Dakin

Congratulations on your freakish handedness, American spy!!!

And I didn't say that there were hundreds in the NHL. The math is obviously not going to support that. But even so, it could have been considered exaggeration for effect. Let's not nitpick.

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#227 Ryan14
May 27 2010, 10:25AM
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Since when do we draft based on need? I thought it was BPA?

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#228 Archaeologuy
May 27 2010, 10:38AM
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Ryan14 wrote:

Since when do we draft based on need? I thought it was BPA?

MacGregor clearly stated that he would be selecting the player he thought was BPA. Whatever his choice will be, its the guy he thinks is the best player.

The argument is that if skill level is equal, then the team should select the right shot Centre over the Winger. The key part is the IF THE SKILL LEVEL IS EQUAL section.

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#229 Ryan14
May 27 2010, 10:41AM
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One reason I am not going to go with CSS is this:

CSS NA top 3 final rankings: 2005: 1) Sidney Crosby 2) Benoit Pouliot 3) Bobby Ryan

2006: 1) Erik Johnson 2) Jordan Staal 3) Jonathan Toews

2007: 1) Kyle turris 2) Patrick Kane 3) James Van Riemsdyk

2008: 1) Steven Stamkos 2) Zach Bogosian 3) Drew Doughty

Every year, except for '06, there is a name there that doesn't really belong. They seem to get all cute before the draft and put some guy up there who doesn't belong. I'm going with Stu MacGregor before I go with CSS.

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#230 Archaeologuy
May 27 2010, 11:05AM
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All three from 2006 are good players. If Johnson hadnt lost an entire year I dont know if youd think that he doesnt belong.

Zach Bogosian was described as a man-child. He was more physically mature than Doughty was. Sounds familiar?

2007, I dont have an excuse for that, but being wrong while projecting 18 yr olds is common for every scouting service.

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#231 Dyckster
May 27 2010, 11:32AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

MacGregor clearly stated that he would be selecting the player he thought was BPA. Whatever his choice will be, its the guy he thinks is the best player.

The argument is that if skill level is equal, then the team should select the right shot Centre over the Winger. The key part is the IF THE SKILL LEVEL IS EQUAL section.

The term BPA, in my eyes, is a slippery slope. The word "best" could mean BEST talent, or BEST for the given situation. It could be argued for instance, if Seguin is in fact second in talent to Hall, he could still be the BPA for the Oilers.

I haven't got an opinion either way, but it sure is tough not to lean towards Hall after his performance in Brandon.

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#232 Archaeologuy
May 27 2010, 11:38AM
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@Dyckster

Thank God they scout all year long though, or only players that played on good teams would be drafted.

It is kind of tricky, the term BPA.

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#233 KB
May 27 2010, 11:40AM
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I may be out to lunch here, but I don't think this year can be compared straight up with the 2007 Turris/Kane year.

Hall and Seguin play in the same league against the same competition, and I would imagine this makes comparison between the two (slightly) easier for scouts. Turris and Kane played in completely different leagues and I would imagine that it would be difficult to compare the two players.

As I said above, maybe I'm wrong about this.

I personally would prefer Seguin for many of the reasons previously stated, but I'm the first to admit that I have no real clue about either guy. I only know what I have read and heard from various interviews from scouts. I must also say that I listened to the interview Jason Gregor had with Seguin last week, and I was impressed with the kid's poise during the questioning.

For the record, I'd be ok with Hall joining the Oilers, ,too.

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#234 Dyckster
May 27 2010, 11:50AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Thank God they scout all year long though, or only players that played on good teams would be drafted.

It is kind of tricky, the term BPA.

Could we accurately replace BPA with MTP (Most Talented Player)?

Even with the term MTP though, high levels of talent doesn't always equate to best. See Robert Nilsson.

Ugh, you're right, BPA is tricky to define.

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#235 madjam
May 27 2010, 12:51PM
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Who's going to be better Eberle or Seguin ? Both have played for teams of non elite junior squads . Hall can play with Eberle as we have all seen at a high level , but will he play just as well and be as successfull with Seguin ? Eberle has yet to crack the lineup, and i suspect it might be the same route for Seguin if we choose him over Hall . Hall is NHL ready if Eberle is .

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#236 madjam
May 27 2010, 01:32PM
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Addressing the injury problem , the workplace environment and developing our youth all at once . Over the last several years our veterans have been playing above their physical capabilities to a great extent resulting in poorer overall play and many injuries . The smaller players have relied to heavily on our core to do the physical work load of the team .

Getting rid of a deterent like Laracque did not help .They (management ) overassummed ,to our detriment , that the club was physically capable of playing tough team hockey with such an overload of small soft players . I don't blame the players for that oversight/assumption . It was just too much to ask and expect from our usually good veterans . Their games veterans and rookies have had their games suffer because of it . Now, many want out because of it . Downsizing and downgrading was the wrong avenue to go as we all witnessed first hand .

Souray and other very good veterans must be fed up and for good reason . We expected far to much of our players , drove their values down , and bad mouth most of them leaving here . Now , who outside our club wants to come into an environment like that i ask

Unlike Ottawa fans that wanted a kings ransom for a talent like Heatley , most Oilers fans want to rid themselves of a very good talent like Souray for literally peanuts . If we had a half decent club to begin with, that was not so critically physically challenged ,Souray could have blossommed here instead of being in the infirmary a good portion of time like most other veterans . Somehow they expected very good men, not only to play their games well, but also pick up the slack and voids left by people like Laracque and Booguart type players .

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#237 SLURVE
May 29 2010, 01:38PM
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Seguin has to be the first pick. You have so many talented wingers and the old question still remains, "we need an elite centerman to make plays and great passes to these wingers" Don't tell Boston that. Tell the opposite, we want Hall and make a deal for Seguin.

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