September 26 2013 05:14PM
The Edmonton Oilers asked Taylor Hall to position switch this fall, and the young man said he'd do his best. Now, Dallas Eakins backup plan looks pretty good (borrowing a line) as the club approaches opening night. I'm wondering if that kind of moment--where the player expresses a preference in position but adopts a new position to help the club--might be the backdrop for the Oilers to name him their new captain.
HE'S THEIR BEST PLAYER!
Although the Oilers have a passel of gifted youngsters, Hall's the Alpha male in the group and their best player. He's been pushing the river at 5x5 since he was a teenager and he's been delivering results against the toughest opponents available. Hall's move to center has to be considered a Godsend at this point, and his ability to play the position (Ray Ferraro was commenting during this week's broadcast about how well Hall is adjusting) isn't a major concern at this point. A lot to learn, but a quick study.
Which is incredible. Athletes. They're amazing.
Hall could very well move back to LW when Nuge and Gagner return, but the thought of keeping him there is very, very interesting. Imagine a top 9F that looks like this:
If Smyth begins to falter, the club could put Boyd Gordon in Gagner's slot and move 89 to the top line with 4 and 83. That's some outstanding talent, more than we've seen since the Boys on the Bus in this town.
And the leader? Turns 22 in November.
HE'S TOO YOUNG!
There's a lot we can find wrong about today's youth (here) but there's a lot of good too. Although Taylor Hall might be a little young for the captaincy, it's also true that he's been a leader since his arrival, and the cluster's heart can be traced to his draft day.
There are other quality options, but from here Taylor Hall looks like the right choice.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
This fall's training camp may be brought to you by the number "4" and the letter "C" as the biggest items are Taylor Hall moving to center and emerging as a young leader. The young man has sacrificed the known comforts of the wing and ventured forth into a more difficult job with no guarantee of success--and made the transition (so far) very well.
Doesn't that sound like a leader? I think it does.