September 10 2013 05:47PM
To hear some people talk, Taylor Hall's move from wing to center is a radical thing, something that should be avoided at all costs, mistrusted. Folks, this isn't handing lead guitar to Bill Wyman, Taylor Hall can play. There's every chance he'll do well in the middle. The more interesting question is this: should he stay at center if it works?
I mentioned this the other day, and I do think it's worth pursuing. If the Oilers move Hall to C and it works well, there's every reason to keep him there after the Nuge returns. Craig MacTavish arrived with a mandate to "build up the middle" and a top 3C of Hall, Nuge and Boyd Gordon does it in style.
It also opens up all kinds of options on the wing (where have you gone, Teemu Hartikainen) and it could mean more minutes and opportunity for some wingers.
POSSIBLE TOP 9F (C-L-R)
- Hall-Gagner-Eberle: The Hall/Eberle WOWY (With or without you, it's here) is sublime.
- Nuge-Perron-Yakupov: Nuge gets the new hire and the Russian, that's some major firepower.
- Gordon-Smyth-Hemsky: You may prefer Omark, I'll go with Smyth. This could be a quality veteran line.
You can mix and match, there's some nice possibilities here and if Hemsky catches fire he could move up the depth chart in a hurry. You might have to protect the 2line, but Perron is a veteran and the Nuge is a demon on the backcheck.
IT'LL NEVER WORK!
He's not going to Mars, he's taking out center for a spin. Taylor Hall is among the best forwards in the NHL. Full stop. The idea of Hall playing at center with Nuge on the 2line for the next 15 years is a wonderful dream--and it could be a reality if he can make the switch. The only barrier is (lack of) experience and Hall's adjusted to everything the NHL has thrown at him so far.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
This isn't a trip to Mars. I think the idea of Hall at center solves all kinds of issues. If it doesn't work, put him back at LW where he has the best future available. If he can play center?