Big Decisions: Taylor Hall over Tyler Seguin

Jonathan Willis
May 20 2012 04:43PM

At the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, the Oilers owned the first overall pick and faced a choice: to draft Taylor Hall, the dynamic left winger who had been the favourite entering the season, or centre Tyler Seguin, who had enjoyed a superb year and was the only other challenger.

They chose Taylor over Tyler. Did they make the right decision?

A year in, the decision looked pretty good. As rookies, Seguin was stuck in a depth role on a very strong Boston Bruins team (he has a Stanley Cup ring now, thanks to the Oilers’ decision) and looked the part – he finished with 22 points in the regular season and his line got outshot badly despite the fact that he was playing for a pretty good team.

Hall meanwhile played a feature role on a miserable Oilers squad, finishing one point out of the team scoring lead despite losing time down the stretch after an ill-advised fight that led to injury.

A year later, things are less clear cut.

Seguin blossomed in his second NHL season, scoring 29 goals and recording 67 points, finishing as the scoring leader on the 102-point Boston Bruins. He had some advantages – the Patrice Bergeron line, as has been the case for a long time in Boston, took on the big defensive zone minutes, but Seguin’s group out-shot and out-scored their opponents.

In Edmonton, Hall also took a step forward, scoring 27 goals and recording 53 points in just 61 games. Not only that, but Hall’s line dominated the shot clock, though he had the same sort of zone start advantages that Seguin enjoyed in Boston. The problem was less with his play than with injury – this is the second season in a row Hall’s year has been cut short. Not only did he suffer a concussion, but he’s undergoing off-season shoulder surgery to repair a problem that’s plagued him since junior.

Did the Oilers make the right decision? The answer to that question isn’t clear, and likely won’t be clear at any point over the next decade, unless injury plays a hand. Hall was the safer choice to carry over his junior performance to the NHL (having a longer track record in junior than Seguin) but Seguin plays a more influential position – centres controlling the game to a greater degree than wingers.

Hall’s a splendid player, and choosing him was a defensible decision. I don’t know how it will turn out over the long run, but it’s not a decision I regret seeing made, and if I had to bet I’d bet on Hall having the higher-end career, and Seguin the longer one.

Note: As has been pointed out in the comments, while Seguin is expected to play centre eventually, he's spent much of his time in Boston on the wing, while David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron have played up the middle.  At this moment in time, both players are wingers.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Wäx Män Riley
May 20 2012, 04:54PM
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Seguin is going to be a very good player. But at fist overall, there is no way anyone would have not taken Hall..... Even DSF

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#2 DSF
May 20 2012, 05:11PM
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Wäx Män Riley wrote:

Seguin is going to be a very good player. But at fist overall, there is no way anyone would have not taken Hall..... Even DSF

Yes I would have.

Said so at the time and still feel that way.

They were so close before the draft, choosing the centre would have been the right choice....never mind that Hall's style of play will likely have him in the infirmary a much higher percentage of the time.

Centre depth is one of the keys to winning championships.

The Oilers don't have any.

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#3 OilerLand
May 20 2012, 05:11PM
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Taylor Hall is the better pick simply because the pick was going to be the face of the franchise. Seguin comes off as a douchebag and would have been a harder sell IMO. Seguin is a terrific player but Hall is in a position to be much more than simply a player.

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#4 Wanyes bastard child
May 20 2012, 05:25PM
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Annnd somewhere Arch is developing a nervous twitch above his left eye...

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#5 speeds
May 20 2012, 05:27PM
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JW wrote:

"Hall was the safer choice to carry over his junior performance to the NHL (having a longer track record in junior than Seguin) but Seguin plays a more influential position – centres controlling the game to a greater degree than wingers."

This seems to be the conventional wisdom, I'm not saying that I doubt it to be true, but have you ever looked into the difference between C's and W's? Is there actually a big difference, visible from the stats available now?

If you haven't, have you ever read anything about that, do you have any links handy?

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#6 revingev
May 20 2012, 05:50PM
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What is missing in that comparison is Sequin plays RW not centre. So while everything that is mentioned is accurate, the quote "but Seguin plays a more influential position – centres controlling the game to a greater degree than wingers." is missing information.

We have no idea if Sequin will eventually (I am sure he will be eased into it) become a top end center in the NHL. So when making comparisons at least for now, it should be Hall the LW VS Sequin the RW. We can't talk about how Hall plays a less important role and Sequin a more valuable one ,when in fact, he does not.

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#7 JOFA
May 20 2012, 05:50PM
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Seguin was a centre in junior, in the NHL he's a right winger.

2011-2012 regular season stats: Seguin in the circle: 46/106 43.4% Hall in the circle: 23/57 40.4%

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#11 RexLibris
May 20 2012, 06:25PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Well, they have Nugent-Hopkins and Gagner, and if they deal down at this draft they could have a Grigorenko or Galchenyuk in addition.

Would you recommend the Oilers select Galchenyuk over Yakupov? Or Grigorenko over Yakupov?

Given that this is the third consecutive first overall for the Oilers I feel they have the luxury of leaving some talent on the table, so to speak, and making a pick that makes the core they already have a more complete unit, rather than adding more "chrome to the fenders".

I don't think there is anything, intrinsically, that says a winger can't be as much of a playmaker as a center, I just wonder if Galchenyuk or Grigorenko might not become significant long-term upgrades over the current and potential players at the second-line center position.

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#12 treevojo
May 20 2012, 06:49PM
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DSF wrote:

Yes I would have.

Said so at the time and still feel that way.

They were so close before the draft, choosing the centre would have been the right choice....never mind that Hall's style of play will likely have him in the infirmary a much higher percentage of the time.

Centre depth is one of the keys to winning championships.

The Oilers don't have any.

Hey DSF. It's almost like Willis wanted us to continue our discussion from last night with this article. I don't think you replied to my last comment from last night. I will have to go back and check now.

Edit. Just checked and no reply.

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#13 Sliderule
May 20 2012, 06:57PM
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Hall is faster and has more fire in his eyes.

If oil had take Seguin he would have been targeted like Hall was and probably injured.

Seguin is a nice player but you put him with our team and you would have him scoring much less than Hall.

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#14 speeds
May 20 2012, 06:59PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Would you recommend the Oilers select Galchenyuk over Yakupov? Or Grigorenko over Yakupov?

Given that this is the third consecutive first overall for the Oilers I feel they have the luxury of leaving some talent on the table, so to speak, and making a pick that makes the core they already have a more complete unit, rather than adding more "chrome to the fenders".

I don't think there is anything, intrinsically, that says a winger can't be as much of a playmaker as a center, I just wonder if Galchenyuk or Grigorenko might not become significant long-term upgrades over the current and potential players at the second-line center position.

You didn't ask me, but I'll answer anyways!

They do not have the luxury of leaving talent on the table. Some (not necessarily including you here) act as though this is a top 5 offence in the league, along with a bottom 5 defence. The reality is the Oilers were 20th in the NHL in GF last year, and 23rd in GA.

Even if Grig and Gal are long term upgrades over the prospective guys at their position, that doesn't mean Yakupov wouldn't be the same.

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#15 speeds
May 20 2012, 07:01PM
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FWIW, I was in favour of Hall at the time of the draft:

http://hockeysymposium.blogspot.ca/2010/06/2010-draft-top-40-1-2.html

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#18 treevojo
May 20 2012, 07:09PM
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@RexLibris

I don't think a team that has finished 30,30,29 can ever think they have the luxury of leaving talent on the table

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#19 count grishnack
May 20 2012, 07:46PM
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DSF wrote:

Yes I would have.

Said so at the time and still feel that way.

They were so close before the draft, choosing the centre would have been the right choice....never mind that Hall's style of play will likely have him in the infirmary a much higher percentage of the time.

Centre depth is one of the keys to winning championships.

The Oilers don't have any.

God you are a stupid poster are you not.

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#20 BlacqueJacque
May 20 2012, 07:50PM
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Seguin hasn't played centre in the NHL, he's a right winger.

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#21 Raine
May 20 2012, 07:54PM
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JOFA wrote:

Seguin was a centre in junior, in the NHL he's a right winger.

2011-2012 regular season stats: Seguin in the circle: 46/106 43.4% Hall in the circle: 23/57 40.4%

There is a hell of a lot more to playing centre than simply taking the draw. Faceoffs is more often than not a sore spot for any centre who enters the NHL.

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#22 BlacqueJacque
May 20 2012, 08:07PM
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Also, if you feel like adding some meat to fill out the fluff, you may want to contrast Hall vs Seguin 5v5 and 5v4.

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#23 Oilers4ever
May 20 2012, 08:10PM
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I don't know how there is any debate on this. People compare Hall to Messier for his desire and leadership potential. Seguin is a good player, but nowhere near that kind of potential. Hall had 6 less points and played fewer games. Seems pretty cut and dry to me. They two are not comparable. Seguin doesn't have the drive, desire or explosiveness that Hall has. I watched some of the Bruins past season. I didn't see those types of aspects to Seguin's game.

Seguin is also playing on a team stacked with veternan talent compared to the Oilers and still barely beat Hall in points including Hall missing the games he did. This is an easy call, there is no debate.

Seguin is going to be good, but Hall will be much better.

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#24 majin_oil
May 20 2012, 08:35PM
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Jonathan,

Assuming the Oil do take Yakupov, what do you see happening with the second line centre position?

Without getting into a massive Ganger debate, I just don't see him having the potential to carry the second line(I know I'm not alone on this). Is there a serious chance that Hall will be moved to Centre?

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#25 Daryl
May 20 2012, 08:43PM
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A team that finishes 30 30 29 has more problems than just the coach.

Philosophy has been wrong and that started at the top.

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#26 dawgtoy
May 20 2012, 08:45PM
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The tough thing to know barring of course a DMC-12 DeLorean or crystal ball, is whether Seguin would have developed the same under the Oilers guidance? He was well protected and sheltered on a deep Boston team that would go on to win the cup. How would the Oilers have played Seguin? Would he have played center? How many minutes a game vs what type of competition? Would he have made the team or gone back to the Whalers? Nobody can answer those questions with any amount of certainty. Part of the reason the Oilers chose Hall is they knew he'd be able to step onto a 30th place hockey club and make them better. That could not have been predicted necessarily for Seguin. Given how the Oilers have so far floundered such developmental projects as Pääjärvi, Lander, Omark, and Hartikainen, I'd say the Tyler Seguin we know today, that was developed by the Stanley cup champion Boston Bruins, would not be the same had his name been called by the 30th placed Edmonton Oilers. Just my opinion folks!

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#27 Rond
May 20 2012, 08:47PM
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I remember this board before Seguin got hot in last years playoffs, they trashed him.

Taylor Tyler controversy was not suppose to start 1st year Taylor was way ahead of him, the reason some experts liked Tyler is they thought he had a upside.

If i had to choose today who I would pick it would be Taylor.

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#28 rubbertrout
May 20 2012, 08:51PM
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JOFA wrote:

Seguin was a centre in junior, in the NHL he's a right winger.

2011-2012 regular season stats: Seguin in the circle: 46/106 43.4% Hall in the circle: 23/57 40.4%

HEY JOFA GET YOUR OWN AVATAR.

*Yes I know I'm yelling but I'm pretty protective of this thing.

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#29 Felt
May 20 2012, 08:53PM
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It is Joke firing the coach and thinking this will help Oilers they have soo many holes they can't afford picking one problem over the other in the draft. They need to pick BPA.

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#31 Joel
May 20 2012, 08:55PM
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How many years will go by before Oilers make the playoffs?

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#32 oilers2k11
May 20 2012, 08:56PM
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Heres the question that oilers management should ask themselves..

"if we choose to trade the pick..how are we going to address the missing piece in the top six?"

First line I got Hall-Hopkins-Eberle

Second line I got Blank-Gagner-Hemsky

Lets face it, hemsky can play LW just as easily as RW, and if thats a problem then Yakupov(if the oilers are in fact not dumb they will pick him) can just as easily play left side, he likes the righ side cuz his one-timer is lethal, but left wing would be his natural position(as is the case with most left handed shooters)

On defence, Oilers have Gernat, Marancin, Musil, and Klefbom all as viable canditates for the future, should two of those make it in the next two years where would they fit in? We got Whitney, Petry, Schultz and Smid in the top four, Potter, Sutton, Peckham, and Teubert round up the top six-8 ok, say Whitney, Potter, Sutton, amd Peckham arent here in two years , that leaves us with Petry, Schultz, Smid, Teubert, and two of Klefbom, Musil, Marancin, or Gernat..

Who knows how good Petry will be in two years, my guess is legitimate top four, Schultz will be 31, or 32..could be here for many years as a top six, but isnt a 1-2 guy.. In Teubert I see a future Matt Greene, probably is a season away from being matt greene(edmonton version)..so good thing Sutton is here another season. Smid can play 20-26 minutes a game..so he can be a 1b option for now..

Who is number one?

Ryan Murray? I think not..hes likely a season behimd Petry right now and probably maxes out at a slightly improved version of Jay Bouwmeester in three seaons..not good enough for number one.. Soo... Unless Oilers somehow manage to get a signed long term Weber for the pick(and no, Suter aint in webers leage, so suter isnt an option)..oilers must pick Yakupov to round out the top six, Yaks could very easily be the top scorer on this team for the next decade.. So how do oilers fix the hole in defence you ask? Trades baby, free agents signings baby, college free agents baby.. It doesnt matter..oilers arent gonna get a number one D in this draft(unless they somehow magically get a second top ten pick and somehow magically Dumba, Reinhart, Trouba, or Reilly turn into a number one)

My suggestion? Oilers do everything in their power to get Justin Schultz to sign in edmonton(hes at around murrays level right now I hear, still not legitimate number one for the future thougj).. Go after Garrison, sign him to three yrs, 5 mill per..over payment? Maybe..but oil have tons of cap room..worth the risk I say.. Make a tradr with toronto for one of their D? NO! A BIG FAT NO! Not Nearly good enough to give up a likely future 40 goal guy..

Go after Suter? Sure, why the hell not..

Weber trade? Likley would need to give up one of Eberle, Hall, Hopkins or 1st pick..I dont like it. Today I would choose the prospect of Yakupov over Weber, you dont find Yakupovs more than once or twice every five years in a draft..Webers? Plenty to go around.. getting one is the question..getting a Bure type is an Even greater question..

Look at New Jersey, NYR..Pheonix...not one true legitimate number one franchise defenceman on their roster..and I dont believe oilers absololutely need to chase one..if one of Klefbom, Gernat, ot Marancin one dat turn into a number one guy..great..but it most likelt aint happenin..like 99 percent chance of it not happening..but Murray also wont turn into that guy..

This years number one pick is far too valuable to give up just to fill some team need..

Back to my vodka now..thank youuu

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#34 Sid
May 20 2012, 08:58PM
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Everything being equal no major injuries to Oilers and other teams.

I would guess over 5yrs before they make the playoffs.

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#35 50 in 39
May 20 2012, 08:58PM
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You can't knit pick things like value of position or minor differences in box score numbers when it comes to Hall. Sure Seguin might put up slightly more points than Hall. Yes a top player at center can offer more value to a team than a top player on the wing but Seguin has proven nothing at the center position in the NHL yet. Maybe one day Hall will be a better NHL center than Seguin, who knows?

What if? What if? What if?

The reason Hall was selected was due to his character and his drive to win. One day when the Oilers are playing games of consequence Hall will prove why he was the number one pick. Given one shift with a big game on the line and both players on my bench I know who I send over the boards.

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#36 ubermiguel
May 20 2012, 09:04PM
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Sliderule wrote:

Hall is faster and has more fire in his eyes.

If oil had take Seguin he would have been targeted like Hall was and probably injured.

Seguin is a nice player but you put him with our team and you would have him scoring much less than Hall.

I wanted Seguin prior to the draft but Hall's compete-level sold me. Hopefully his body holds together.

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#37 Joe K
May 20 2012, 09:08PM
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oilers2k11,

OEL and Yandle might argue with that.

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#38 John Chambers
May 20 2012, 09:14PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

No, I wouldn't.

I'd take Yakupov at the draft unless someone - say Toronto - was willing to pay big to move up.

On the other hand, I don't make those decisions for the team, and I recognize that not taking Yakupov is something the Oilers may choose to do.

What do you think an overpayment by Burke would look like? Do you think a package that includes Gunnarsson, Reimer, and the 5th overall with the #1 and Khabibulin going back the other way looks like a fair deal or an overpayment?

Would you rather substitute Gardiner for either Reimer or Gunnarsson in that equation?

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#39 Joe K
May 20 2012, 09:16PM
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I would trade straight up OEL for Yakupov. Phoenix wouldn't

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#40 John Chambers
May 20 2012, 09:21PM
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@oilers2k11

The Rangers have about 4 legitimate top-pair defensemen (defined as top 60 league-wide, or 2 x 30 teams).

Steal, Girardi, Del Zotto, and McDonagh are all better options than anyone the Oilers have. I could see trading Yakupov for one of them plus either Kreider, Hagelin, or Dubinski as being legitimate scenarios that could benefit both teams.

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#41 K_Mart
May 20 2012, 09:31PM
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PPG wise Hall and Seguin were pretty much equal this year. Hall has what appears to be a much higher in-game compete level, but his reckless style has lead to a predictably larger number of injuries. Since Seguin and Hall both have some history as centres (hall in his last years in midget, Seguin in Jr.) they are probably both fully capable of transitioning back to that position if required by their respective teams.

At this stage of their careers I wouldn't be able to really give an edge to either one. Seguin has less injuries and, thanks to a great team surrounding him, a stanley cup ring. However, Hall seems to have much more intensity in his game and, despite the weaker defensive corps backing him up, he provides consistant offense.

I'm thinking that it won't be another 5 years until one emerges as the clearcut better choice.

If I had to put money on it I'd go with Hall. He's playing a slightly larger role in Edmonton and is getting more opportunities as the go to guy. This often leads to better development.

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#42 Johe
May 20 2012, 09:41PM
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Can we all just agree that the Oilers and the Bruins both got fantastic players? Hall is an awesome Oiler, and I'm very happy he plays for us. Seguin is an awesome Bruin. Done.

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#43 Archaeologuy
May 20 2012, 10:02PM
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I was firmly in the Seguin corner. He was far and away better 5x5 in his draft year and he played Centre. Mix in a wonky shoulder and some mouth breathing and Taylor Hall doesnt seem so attractive. He's a good player, but man am I ever happy we took RNH the next season.

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#44 oilers2k12
May 20 2012, 10:09PM
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As for the seguin vs hall debate: I dont care if seguin averages 80 pts per year and hall does 60, hall is what this team needed..passion...hes a beatifull don cheery typr player plus he can score..i no longer care if the oilers got the "best" player in that draft..they got a new beating heart in hall unbelievable passion from this kid. Yakupov is similar..oilers need him.

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#45 Biowolf
May 20 2012, 10:13PM
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Hall is a fantastic payer and fun to watch. But he cant play in the NHL under the current rules (especially on a team like the Oilers that get beat up every night)without getting injured.

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#46 @NateInVegas
May 20 2012, 10:34PM
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Seguin lined up on RW with Bergeron taking the draws, but they played rover/center. If you watched that line play they switched depending who was closest to the puck.

In Seguin's rookie year he was almost always playing Center with Ryder & Recchi. Some wing- point on the PP.

This year's draft would be a no brainer had the Oilers drafted Seguin C2, RNHC1, Yakupov-Eberle RW.

Seguin's position, size, & RH shot was the difference for me.

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#47 Jimmeh
May 20 2012, 11:16PM
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Girardi is a UFA this year, I think the Oilers should go for him. His price keeps going up as the Rangers go through these playoffs.

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#50 Wäx Män Riley
May 21 2012, 12:00AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Dan Girardi's deal actually runs to 2013-14.

link to nhlnumbers.... nice

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