TAYLOR HALL: 200 IN THE BOOKS

Robin Brownlee
December 18 2013 09:03PM

Taylor Hall played his 200th NHL game for the Edmonton Oilers in a 3-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center Wednesday. In many ways, the milepost was a microcosm of his tenure since the Oilers made him the first overall pick in the 2010 Entry Draft.

Hall, 22, roared up and down the ice like a freight train coming off the rails most shifts, driving the attack on many of them, getting little accomplished on others. Hall pumped seven shots on goal. He busted to the net on a partial breakaway down the left wing, went to the backhand, fumbled the puck and crashed into the corner boards.

Defensively, Hall made a terrible giveaway, throwing a puck to Anze Kopitar, of all people. He missed some assignments. About the only thing that wasn't par for the course in all the above, as hot as Hall's been, is he didn't manage a point as Martin Jones turned aside all 24 shots he faced.

Still raw, often ragged, Hall is a work-in-progress. While he's knocked off some of the edges, he's in many ways still very much the same instinctual player he was as two-time Memorial Cup MVP of the Windsor Spitfires. Hall is more like a finicky Ferrari than a reliable Ford pick-up, which is exactly what you expect from a No. 1 overall pick.

He's far from a finished product. 

Class of his Class 

By the most basic numbers, Hall reaches the 200-game mark with 77-96-173, good for .87 PPG. He's scored 12-16-28 in 29 games this season (.97) after tearing it up for 16-34-50 in 45 games (1.11) last season. That, on the heels of a 27-26-53 through 61 games in 2011-12 and 22-20-42 in 65 games as a rookie in 2010-11.

When I look at the draft class of 2010, there isn’t a player, be it a forward or a defenseman, I'd rather have than Hall, not one player who stacks up better with draft day not so long ago. Not just by the numbers, but by any measure, at least from where I sit.

Not No. 2 pick Tyler Seguin, who has 154 points in 234 games. Not Carolina's Jeff Skinner, who has 152 points in 211 games. Defensemen? Nope. Cam Fowler of Anaheim is the best blueliner of the class to this point and I wouldn't trade Hall straight up for him, which is saying something as badly as the Oilers need actual NHL defensemen.

Flaws and all – and there are a few – Hall's performance through 200 games on a bottom-feeder like the Oilers is unmatched by his peers. There can't be any real argument about that, as there was for a time among the fan base in the Taylor-Tyler debate leading into the draft in Los Angeles. 

Trade Hall

Jason Gregor has long made the argument the Oilers are going to have to dip into their talented group of top-six forwards to make the mix right and more important, acquire other players necessary to round out the roster – notably, but not limited to, a proven top pairing defenseman. I agree with him.

If I'm looking at Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov as possible pawns in re-configuring this roster, the two players who don’t go on the table are Hall and RNH. I'm not saying they can't be traded, but unless Craig MacTavish has a Norris Trophy candidate coming back, they don’t enter the conversation, at least if I'm MacT.

Of course, with the Oilers facing an eighth year out of the playoffs, some fans, rightfully sour, and media types might feel differently. One e-mailer to Gregor's show today called Hall a prima donna, suggesting he'd trade him in a heartbeat. Really? For who? That's frustration talking. Crazy talk.

There are a lot of things wrong with the 2013-14 edition of the Oilers. Hall is not one them.

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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#1 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 18 2013, 09:55PM
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G-Unit wrote:

Agree except Yak. His value will never be higher than it is now

You are talking about a former 1st OV who is the midst of a massive slump.

This may well be his lowest value point for the next 15 years.

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#2 Manfly
December 18 2013, 09:12PM
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bang on when you say you wouldn't trade Hall or Nuge. I wouldn't either only because Hall is our best player and Nuge is the best center we've had here since, what, Doug Weight? and we all know how starved the organization is for top centers.....we have none after Nuge! but, after a season like this, as far as I am concerned, it's open season on everyone else!

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#3 ooj
December 18 2013, 11:57PM
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Well..if taylor hall's sick of all the losing, maybe it's time for him to lead this team by example.. Maybe he should actually try to hit someone on the forecheck instead of looping around the opposition with a weak stick check...and quit turning it over at the blueline...yeah he skates hard and rushes up the ice like a freight train but if he's a leader like so many people have annointed him as, then maybe he should be doing the things his teammates aren't willing to do in order to send a message.

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#4 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 18 2013, 09:21PM
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Hall's a gem.

The warts we all see are there. But they are there on every player, esp. every really young player like Hall.

Hall's warts are just a lot more exposed because this team was built "by neglect" and there are no vets to shelter the kids from the storm.

No vets = tough sledding all the time. It also = losing all the time and that = a hell of a lot of scrutiny.

Bad recipe for clear headed evaluation.

At any rate, I don't trade any of Hall, RNH, Eberle, Yakupov. I don't think you have to either to solve this puzzle.

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#5 mlcselli
December 18 2013, 11:26PM
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Taylor Hall--a keeper to be sure. If MacT and 6 rings don't get some key players on this roster before the 2014/15 season, Hall will want out and demand a trade. Really who could blame him. Hall has been a huge part of a winning environment his whole life, and for the last few years, he's been a huge part of a gong show. I'm sure when the Oilers announce a much improved roster, Halls mistakes won't be as glaring and also be minimal. His new line mates will be much more offensively/defensively responsible than his current ones.

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#6 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 18 2013, 10:06PM
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Are Hall's rough edges not a result of the Oilers poor development practices? If Eastern Hockey writers actually cared about the sport Hall would have been the 2nd team all-star winger. Amazing considering the stagnation around him.

I would move a couple of the kids for sure. i wouldn't move them for just anything but I certainly would trade them if the situation were right. I wouldnt want current management to do it cause they will screw it up.

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#7 Spydyr
December 19 2013, 08:07AM
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Rheal1 wrote:

Typical comment from a typical Oilers fan... I do acknowledge your pretentiousness.

What happened to you boycotting all things Oil. Can you get on with it already?

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#8 srbuhr
December 19 2013, 07:32AM
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@Rheal1

Then you started drinking far to early. Hall is a good player but far from great. Until he learns to play 200ft he will only be a player that has the potential to be a game breaker. No way should he be on the Olympic team, and until he truly starts to show leadership on the ice he should also not be captain.

And in the event he asks for a trade then that truly shows a lack of character. Good players make those around them better and help win championships. If Taylor isn't willing to do his part for the oilers let's hope he is worth enough in a trade to move the club out of the ditch.

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#9 Spydyr
December 19 2013, 06:48AM
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I would trade him straight up for Pietrangelo in a heart beat.

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#10 VK63
December 18 2013, 09:29PM
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A common misnomer but Hall was not captain of the Spits.

Harry Young in 09 Ryan Ellis in 10

He was a captain in the prospects game.

No matter… he was the engine that drove the bus… as he is here.

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#11 @Oilanderp
December 19 2013, 05:09AM
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Don't trade Hall indeed.

In other news, bears admit to defecating in the woods. The Vatican has released a statement that the Pope is indeed Catholic. In sports, the Oilers went 0-4 on their west coast road trip. Here's Tom with the weather.

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#12 Taylor Gang
December 19 2013, 10:30AM
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Anyone who says Seguin over Hall should give their heads a shake. Hall has more points in less games on a worse team. He won 2 memorial cups and won MVP both years. You could say Seguin won a cup but I doubt many people would say he was an "integral" part to their cup win.

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#13 **
December 19 2013, 12:01AM
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Hall and RNH are the best things to happen to this team in 2 decades. ( I don't count Chris Pronger because he abandoned ship).

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#14 Brian
December 19 2013, 07:13AM
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It was a question from the Journal's John Mackinnon that sparked KDumbs 6Rings speech. Other than that, no other media type to my knowledge has seriously addressed the desecration of the Oiler franchise under Lowe 's watch. The man should be totally embarrassed by his incompetence, cronyism, and arrogance.

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#15 Oilfan69
December 19 2013, 11:25AM
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can someone get wayne to get rid of the half naked man on the background ?

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#16 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 18 2013, 09:56PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

I will focus my comments on Taylor Hall - not the concept/idea of moving two of the six. But for the record, those moves would not have to be made if hemsky and gagner had been moved more than a year ago as i and others said at the time. The horse has left the barn on that opportunity and now the same inept management is going to have to sell some of the future to salvage some of the shorter term.

Back to TH. There is another player who had similar promise back in the day who had similar promise and who delivered good but not great perfrom

I'll bite.

Get to wherever you want the team to go today by moving Hemsky and Gagner a year ago.

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#17 Zamboni Driver
December 19 2013, 09:03AM
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Hall is going to have a good career.

Way too soon to call him either a superstar or a bust. But it is WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY too soon to speak the word "Olympics" in the same sentence. (2014 Olympics I mean, '18, maybe)

Not sure I agree with the assessment of Seguin, though Robin. Kid's maybe a bit of a partier, but seems to me makes other people better as well as being a lights-out scorer. I actually think that one is a draw right now.

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#18 A-Mc
December 19 2013, 10:14AM
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Rheal1 wrote:

This is such a humbling moment. There are definitely brilliant hockey minds here. All knowing fan like you are justifiably "little miss know it alls" but yet you have no clue why this organization is a failure. Tell the world then what this team requires to become a winner and why the management have failed to make this team a winner. Both Eakins and MacT have talked the talk so far...

The problem with your comment is that it is well documented that the Oilers have tried to find a home for Omark and couldn't. No one wants him.

Can Omark bring in a D piece? No. Why do we say that? Because we can't seem to give him away for free, that's why.

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#19 Rheal1
December 19 2013, 05:32AM
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Not only TH is a keeper but he is better then Seguin and should have been named Captain. He should also be on the Team Canada roster for Sochi.

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#20 Zamboni Driver
December 19 2013, 10:33AM
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Rheal1 wrote:

This is such a humbling moment. There are definitely brilliant hockey minds here. All knowing fan like you are justifiably "little miss know it alls" but yet you have no clue why this organization is a failure. Tell the world then what this team requires to become a winner and why the management have failed to make this team a winner. Both Eakins and MacT have talked the talk so far...

Actually I have lots of good ideas why the team is a failure.

I also am also absolutely certain that trading a 5'8" forward playing in the AHL, who cleared waivers at least once (and four months ago at that) is NOT going to bring help on defense for this team.

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#21 Spydyr
December 19 2013, 10:48AM
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Want to know what you would get in return for trading Gagner and Dubnyk right now. Two roster spots and some cap space.

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#22 Oiler Al
December 18 2013, 09:52PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

I will focus my comments on Taylor Hall - not the concept/idea of moving two of the six. But for the record, those moves would not have to be made if hemsky and gagner had been moved more than a year ago as i and others said at the time. The horse has left the barn on that opportunity and now the same inept management is going to have to sell some of the future to salvage some of the shorter term.

Back to TH. There is another player who had similar promise back in the day who had similar promise and who delivered good but not great perfrom

Serious Gord, couldn't agree more. Hemsky and Gagner are Lowe's boys and his deals. Hemsky should have been dealth two years ago, and Gagner 10 minuetes after he got the 8 points against the Hawks.

I think Gagner means well, but he really is not a 2 nd line player center or wing. Yesterdays game he was on he ice for all 3 Kings goals.. I think his hockey IQ is not that good.

But I would give serious taught to trading Hall for a PK Suban or that other guy from the Preds.

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#23 Rod from Viking
December 18 2013, 10:31PM
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I really like Hall but to me it looks by his body language that he is getting tired of losing and this year with the center experiment, injury, his third coach and out of the play offs by Nov 1. How this team thought they would be competitive with this defense and initial goal tending tandem. Mac T do something to improve or Hall will want out and then we will never get anyone to come here even if they are drafted(aka Eric Lindros)

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#24 6 ring circus
December 19 2013, 12:13AM
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Lets hope the Oiler's start to improve in Hall's next 200 games with the team,a few playoff appearances would be a great start.

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#25 G-Unit
December 18 2013, 09:21PM
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I give the over/under on Halls career at 500 games, because of his reckless style, but I want to see him in Oilers silks for the 500.

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#26 The Real Scuba Steve
December 19 2013, 06:18AM
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How long before he demands a trade?

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#27 Posti
December 19 2013, 08:51AM
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Everyone is so hot on Eberle and that's the piece I would trade because of it. He is a sniper but soft on the defensive side of the game. Never on the body always stickwork. He misses a poke check and then he gives up. Yakupov can take his spot on the top line if it means we have the all star d man this team so desperately needs. Webber makes Nashville at least competitive imagine what he could do here. All the best teams have a complete stud on D.

Nothing will happen this year in landing a star d-man but at the draft I could see MacTavish making some noise. I would throw everything I could at Nashville and go for Webber. Eberle, Petry and our 1st round pick might make them wake up and take notice.

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#28 oil fan in calgary
December 19 2013, 10:22AM
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as long as 6 ring circus and MacT think sam gagner is a second line (any position) NHL player nothing will change.

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#30 Rama Lama
December 19 2013, 11:00AM
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If there was a Stat called, Driving the Play, Hall would own it.

This kid is as rare as they come.......I can't believe that there are fans out there that criticize him??

Totally agree with you Robin except I would add Perron to that untouchable list and make it three!

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#31 Zamboni Driver
December 19 2013, 09:37AM
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Rheal1 wrote:

Today is the pre-xmas trade deadline. Could Omark be moved for D help? MacT: please do a bold move soon. While the kids are good on the ice - for the team they're on - and Bryz the cosmonaut plays huge, bring in a Dman with attitude to whip this team out of its torpor.

Omark is not being traded for anything, ever.

And even if he was, I'm pretty sure a flat spare tire for my Zamboni that we'd get in return isn't going to help the D-core.

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#32 Spydyr
December 19 2013, 09:50AM
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Rheal1 wrote:

Today is the pre-xmas trade deadline. Could Omark be moved for D help? MacT: please do a bold move soon. While the kids are good on the ice - for the team they're on - and Bryz the cosmonaut plays huge, bring in a Dman with attitude to whip this team out of its torpor.

Omark cleared waivers anyone could have has him without giving up anything. Still you expect him to bring help on defense. The truth is he will bring no more than a very late round pick or perhaps a prospect.

Thinking you're going to get immediate help on defense for Omark show a lack of hockey smarts .

It is my belief trading Omark is more about freeing up a roster spot and perhaps helping him out with a fresh start.

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#33 Serious Gord
December 18 2013, 09:37PM
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I will focus my comments on Taylor Hall - not the concept/idea of moving two of the six. But for the record, those moves would not have to be made if hemsky and gagner had been moved more than a year ago as i and others said at the time. The horse has left the barn on that opportunity and now the same inept management is going to have to sell some of the future to salvage some of the shorter term.

Back to TH. There is another player who had similar promise back in the day who had similar promise and who delivered good but not great perfrom

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#34 Rheal1
December 19 2013, 05:47AM
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srbuhr wrote:

You forgot your sarcasm marker (~)

I stand by what I wrote. No sarcasm. Taylor Hall is the best player on the roster. If Tyler seguin would be an Oiler, not only would he be poison in the locker room but he would shut her down on the ice. Ference was a mistake as the C. Next C is Taylor. When looking at potential Team Canada's roster Hall should be on.

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#35 Spider
December 19 2013, 08:48AM
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Rheal1 wrote:

Beyond your obvious superficial sarcasm, I would remind you that my boycott is of a financial nature. Nothing to do with blogging. In exactly what way am I annoying? Some folks here are on full lip service trip, speculating on exactly what solution will get the boat afloat in stormy waters. As fans, where do we go from here? More lip service on who should be traded? Really? How about another "moral victory" tonight perhaps? Let's not point fingers at the source of this failure, namely the development dept and the assistant coaches. Oh no! Let's feed on the mob mentality on here and all offer our biased opinions. What will be attributable to tonight's loss?

HALL - 200 games under his belt and at least 3M in the bank - thats the name of da game BABY!!!!!

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#36 Hemmercules
December 19 2013, 08:18AM
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The Real Scuba Steve wrote:

How long before he demands a trade?

I don't see it happening,Hall gets his 6mil a season win or lose and that type of move would look pretty bad on him. In the event that it did happen, I should hope that Katz would finally drop the hammer on Lowe and tell Mact to get on with those bold moves we heard about.

I think I would be devastated if one of the young guns demanded a trade. That would be really hard for the organization and fan base to bounce back from.

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#37 Puck JammeR!
December 19 2013, 09:41AM
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Posti wrote:

Everyone is so hot on Eberle and that's the piece I would trade because of it. He is a sniper but soft on the defensive side of the game. Never on the body always stickwork. He misses a poke check and then he gives up. Yakupov can take his spot on the top line if it means we have the all star d man this team so desperately needs. Webber makes Nashville at least competitive imagine what he could do here. All the best teams have a complete stud on D.

Nothing will happen this year in landing a star d-man but at the draft I could see MacTavish making some noise. I would throw everything I could at Nashville and go for Webber. Eberle, Petry and our 1st round pick might make them wake up and take notice.

I agree, I think Eberle is the one who should and probably will go. I think out of all our young guys, Eberle is the closest to a finished product. He's a very good offensive player and I think he'll have a long career and score 400+ goals, but I doubt he'll ever turn into a player who's defensively capable or hard to play against. He's also got the track record of being a young 30 goal scorer and I think his trade value is higher than anyone, save maybe Hall.

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#38 S cottV
December 19 2013, 09:51AM
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@S cottV

If Hall could go back in time, he would have gladly given up first overall status to go to the Bruins.

First line with the Bruins - Chara in the back end and Rask in net. Hall would be looking pretty awesome. Maybe even going to the Olympics.

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#39 A-Mc
December 19 2013, 10:13AM
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Having Ekblad, Nurse and Klefbom as young capable defensemen would be pretty awesome. The only part that sucks is that the fan base has waited too long already, and defensemen take years to work out!

~300 games according to some coach, whom i can't remember the name of. One of the short fat ones.

By the time the defensemen were rounding into form, our forward assets would be on their way out carrying 6 years of losing baggage and a bad hangover.

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#40 Spydyr
December 19 2013, 11:14AM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

I'm hearing T.O needs a center & Gardiner might be available, pure speculation of course, but would MacTavish make that trade?

Gagner for Gardiner?

Well they are both under performing. The team needs help on defense. IMO what you see with Gagner is what you will get the rest of his career. So I make that trade every day of the week.

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#41 Taylor Gang
December 18 2013, 09:10PM
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Taylor Gang or die!!!

P.S. Got my oilersnation hoodie today, soooo sick :)

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#42 srbuhr
December 19 2013, 03:14AM
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While I think hall may become a great player he isn't now and frankly no way Dallas would trade Seguin straight up for Hall. That alone tells you who is the better player from 2010 at this point. I would take Tyler over Taylor anyday.

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#43 Walter Sobchak
December 19 2013, 11:05AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Want to know what you would get in return for trading Gagner and Dubnyk right now. Two roster spots and some cap space.

I'm hearing T.O needs a center & Gardiner might be available, pure speculation of course, but would MacTavish make that trade?

Gagner for Gardiner?

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#44 TigerUnderGlass
December 19 2013, 11:09AM
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VK63 wrote:

A common misnomer but Hall was not captain of the Spits.

Harry Young in 09 Ryan Ellis in 10

He was a captain in the prospects game.

No matter… he was the engine that drove the bus… as he is here.

I don't think "misnomer" means what you think it means.

Also....Where did anyone say Hall was the captain? I see "MVP", but I don't see "captain".

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#45 Rick Stroppel
December 19 2013, 12:02PM
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PASSION FOR THE GAME

A few days ago I saw Blake Wheeler interviewed after a Jets loss. He was genuinely upset. He was swearing and they had to bleep out a lot of what he said. This morning the Jets are 10 points out of a playoff spot, the Oilers are 20. The Jets actually have a chance to make the playoffs, the Oilers do not. When you compare the talent on the teams, this is remarkable.

To my mind, the only Oilers who have a real passion for winning, and hatred of losing, at this time, are Taylor Hall, David Perron and (strangely enough) Devan Dubnyk.

Where does the complacency in the Oilers DNA come from? Maybe it comes from a Coach who loses game after game and often says something like "we played a good game...we played an excellent game...the breaks went against us". Maybe it comes from a POHO who, when he is confronted with the fairly obvious mistakes he has made, falls back to bragging about the success of a team he played on thirty years ago. Maybe it comes from an Owner who serves up year after year of uninspired, losing hockey to one of the most loyal and passionate fan bases in North American sport. No apology, no rationalization, no explanation of "the plan" (if there is one).

If the Oilers allow Hall to slip away like Jason Arnott, this team is doomed.

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#46 james_dean
December 19 2013, 12:18AM
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Eberles playing to be here when hes bak on ppg pace....

bandwagon better grease them axles

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#47 pelhem grenville
December 19 2013, 04:09AM
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...but I'm still allowed to be impatient

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#48 srbuhr
December 19 2013, 05:38AM
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@Rheal1

You forgot your sarcasm marker (~)

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#49 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
December 19 2013, 11:18AM
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It's difficult to tough out another year like this, but as we pass the halfway mark and things start to wind down, the Oilers should be set for a solid draft.

Hoping they should get a late first and a second for Hemsky and Schultz. The Gagner situation could present a unique opportunity as well. With one of the kids, along with that top 3 pick the Oilers have coming, could be the ticket to landing a legitimate top pairing blueliner. Oilers need to do whatever it takes to start next season with top two pairing blueliners, and a second line center.

MacTavish needs to narrow his field of vision as far as those blueliners go. Gudbranson instead of Ehrhoff, Yandle over Phanuef, and so on. Don't be dropping your drawers for nobody.

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#50 G-Unit
December 18 2013, 09:27PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Hall's a gem.

The warts we all see are there. But they are there on every player, esp. every really young player like Hall.

Hall's warts are just a lot more exposed because this team was built "by neglect" and there are no vets to shelter the kids from the storm.

No vets = tough sledding all the time. It also = losing all the time and that = a hell of a lot of scrutiny.

Bad recipe for clear headed evaluation.

At any rate, I don't trade any of Hall, RNH, Eberle, Yakupov. I don't think you have to either to solve this puzzle.

Agree except Yak. His value will never be higher than it is now

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