HALL C?

Lowetide
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:

(C-L-R)

  • Hall-Smyth-Hemsky
  • Nuge-Perron-Eberle
  • Gagner-Joensuu-Yakupov

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.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#51 Batfink
September 27 2013, 05:56PM
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madjam wrote:

Any reason Gordon would not be a good captain candidate ?

Gordon's alive?

(How's that for an abstract reference?)

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#52 EHH Team
September 26 2013, 05:23PM
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Agree totally. The experiment with Hall at Centre might affect his Olympic selection. He is truly showing his leadership by accepting the change for the good of the team.

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#53 Harlie
September 26 2013, 07:38PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

I like Hall getting the C. I like Gagner getting the C. I like Eberle getting the C.

Some player (Ference) who is a new oiler? No Thanks. If You need an Interim Captain, then pick Smytty.

Indeed, agreed proceed to..

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#54 Racki
September 26 2013, 08:13PM
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Any time I read the center first it often briefly confuses me, but I often know to expect it from posters such as Lowetide. It's more the other randos that follow this that throw me off. :P It's a petty thing to stop reading over though, even if it makes less sense to me.

Anyways, I may drink the kool-aid to often, but I'm in love with this team's top 9 possibilities. The fourth line is a big dud right now, but it is what it is. Ideally (with the group the Oilers have), the 4th line is the non-factor this year, and the top 3 lines are tremendous factors.

Oh and Eakins' comments to the media recently made it sound like Hall's accepting of the centre role was inconsequential to the captaincy. I didn't get the "Hall would be a good centreman captain" vibe by what I was hearing, which seemed odd to me. Eakins gave me the vibe like he doesn't give a crap about what the leadership has been like before he showed up either.

Edit: oops, that should say "Hall would be a good captain" not "Hall would be a good centreman". Fixed it above.

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#55 voom04
September 26 2013, 09:07PM
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Way better than Smyth at centre(no offense) but that was brutal last go around

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#56 Dangilitis
September 26 2013, 09:43PM
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I think for once, I am afraid, I agree with Gregor. The top 9 with 2 more top 6 draft picks in it is scary good, and pushes Brown and Arcobello out of the roster.

If Gagner really is out for 2 months and RNH for 1 month (I hope these are both guarded timelines), then Eakins keeping them in the playoff hunt by the time they're both back would be a ringing endorsement for his coaching abilities. I also suppose it also depends on how Smyth fares in the top 6 and how Hall fares as a C.

For the record, I have thought Smyth still was a hockey player when everyone started calling for his head at the end of last season. I do remain skeptical that he should play top 6 minutes but at the same time he should play with skilled players and not the Browns and Eagers. If Eakins makes him into a center again, then we might as well write his Oilers obituary.

And LT, I think you should just cut and paste a disclaimer above every forward line you post, so as to save you the inevitable explanations!

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#57 dcsj
September 26 2013, 11:26PM
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FWIW, I think there are some good leaders in the bunch, worthy of consideration. However, I've been really impressed with the way Hall handles himself in front of the press this pre-season. I think he's the captain of the future, might as well give it to him now.

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#58 Noelpm
September 26 2013, 11:49PM
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@EHH Team

When you don't have size the best option is to roll three scoring lines. That is the way the team has been built. We aren't Boston. With Ference and a seemingly stronger Defensive core then last year, I can see this strategy of having a surplus of skilled forwards pay off this year. I also agree with LT that Hall should be at the Helm.

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#59 The Oilers Shot Clock
September 27 2013, 02:34AM
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@Velo

His glove was stuck.

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#60 Reinmand
September 27 2013, 07:05AM
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Slap the C on Hall. It is time for him to lead this team into the playoffs. He leads by example and I believe he is the cornerstone of our new era. Love Ebs, think Yak will be great too. But for me it is Hall that should get the C.

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#61 Reinmand
September 27 2013, 07:37AM
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rob wrote:

with injuries Perron gets lots of play time and will lead this team in scoring this year(by a mile),slap the c on hall,trade for a goalie and back to the playoffs we go!

I still have faith in Dubnyk. I love Hall at center. If anything we could use one more left winger. I don't think Smyth is a long term solution playing with Hall and Hemmer. I had some hope that Omark could be our man, but unfortunately, he was not able to put it together.

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#62 Ivan Drago
September 27 2013, 12:23PM
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Team Omark wrote:

Am I reading this correctly?

The third line is the quintessential checking line. Not a role for 4.8m Snowpants.

If Gagner was 4.8m he would be loved and signed to a 25 yr deal

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#63 Ivan Drago
September 27 2013, 12:25PM
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Ivan Drago wrote:

If Gagner was 4.8m he would be loved and signed to a 25 yr deal

Lmao ok I'm gonna eat it for this one. You OBVIOUSLY were referring to his salary. But my above statement is still true.

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#64 OilCanFan
September 27 2013, 12:33PM
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Tim in Kelowna wrote:

I fail to see how agreeing to move to Centre makes Hall worthy of the captaincy. I would hope every Oiler would do what the coaching staff asks of them.

I also don't agree that just because Hall should be our captain just because he is our best player.

The fact that he is 22 doesn't mean he isn't ready to be captain. But I do think he lacks the maturity necessary to be captain. The way he conducts himself around town is less than ideal.

With everything that Ference has done since he has arrived in Edmonton, how do you not make him captain? He's already engaged in the community in a very meaningful way. Not only that, but he was a key part of a recent Stanley Cup championship team. To me he shows a lot more leadership than Hall does.

I would name Ference captain, and maybe when he retires in 4 years Hall will be ready for the C.

The thing with Andrew Ference is that he does all that while not needing the "C". I feel he is one of those guys that doesn't need/crave the "C" to be a leader on the team - he just does it whether he has it or not and that won't change. I'd think that coming to a new city to a new team and then handing him the captaincy might just put a bit too much pressure on him that isn't really needed. If he is doing all that while not having to continually talk to the media, why not just leave it be?

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#65 Romulus' Apotheosis
September 27 2013, 12:34PM
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Team Omark wrote:

Am I reading this correctly?

The third line is the quintessential checking line. Not a role for 4.8m Snowpants.

This is the common wisdom.

Smarter teams, built with more skill try to go with 3 scoring lines to balance the attack.

This is what Eakins has been talking about. See his comments about making the "top 6" vertical, i.e., 3 sets of pairs across 3 lines.

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#66 Romulus' Apotheosis
September 27 2013, 12:34PM
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StHenriOilBomb wrote:

Hey Lowetide!

Any chance we get to hear some Nation Radio this year?

It was always a weekly treat I looked forward to.

Cheers.

No more Nation Radio.

LT's on TSN/TEAM 1260 everyday from 10-12. great show.

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#67 Zarny
September 27 2013, 01:06PM
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Hall is certainly on the short list but I think you have to be in the locker room to know.

Hall at C is in intriguing but it leaves a massive hole on LW. Hall's speed might get him to the Olympics. You can't throw an anchor like Smyth on his W.

Hall setting up one-timers with a LH RW like Yakupov has potential. The reverse works wonders for Stamkos-St. Louis.

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#68 Tim in Kelowna
September 27 2013, 02:59PM
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@OilCanFan

Fair enough, that's a good point. But I feel like we would be giving Hall the "C" for all the wrong reasons.

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#69 Batfink
September 27 2013, 03:05PM
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OilCanFan wrote:

The thing with Andrew Ference is that he does all that while not needing the "C". I feel he is one of those guys that doesn't need/crave the "C" to be a leader on the team - he just does it whether he has it or not and that won't change. I'd think that coming to a new city to a new team and then handing him the captaincy might just put a bit too much pressure on him that isn't really needed. If he is doing all that while not having to continually talk to the media, why not just leave it be?

The point I tried to and failed to make!

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#70 oilerman53
September 27 2013, 05:35PM
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This team goes as Hall goes, this is simply a different team without him in the lineup. When he was drafted he came in as a player who led hus team to two memorial cups and mvp twice. Hall is a special player and this is his team!

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#71 Batfink
September 27 2013, 05:56PM
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madjam wrote:

Any reason Gordon would not be a good captain candidate ?

Gordon's alive?

(How's that for an abstract reference?)

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