STU MACGREGOR: HALL ON THE BIG STAGE

With the Windsor Spitfires preparing for the Memorial Cup and the Plymouth Whalers sitting at home, extra time in the spotlight gives Taylor Hall a distinct advantage over Tyler Seguin, right?

Not necessarily, according to Edmonton Oilers chief Scout Stu MacGregor, who will be at the epicentre of a Taylor-or-Tyler debate that will rage until he steps up to the microphone at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and calls one of their names.

Yes, Hall and the Spits will command center stage when the Memorial Cup unfolds at the Keystone Centre in Brandon. And, yes, the big winger has an opportunity to make up ground on Seguin, the top-ranked draft-eligible player on the planet, according to NHL Central Scouting.

But shining in the spotlight isn’t always the way things always shake down for blue-chippers like Hall, ranked No. 2. And even if Hall delivers, it might not be enough to sway the Oilers. I believe they consider Seguin, a right-shooting centre, the player who best fits their needs.

DON’T BLOW IT

"The thing you have to be very careful of is that you don’t just start picking them apart and beating them up," MacGregor said.

"Sometimes, it’s an advantage for a player to continue to play, but it can be a disadvantage. The disadvantage is they could blow it. You get that final evaluation and you say, ‘Holy man, I never saw that before.’

"Is that a normal habit? Is that a normal happening? Then you watch it again and it’s ‘Oh man, I’ve been missing this all along.’ There is that other side of it.

"In scouting, you work from a positive side of things, but if you fall off that positive side, it really slides quickly to the negative at times. You have to be careful to make sure you know what you’ve seen and you’re sure what you’ve seen. You keep that in mind with your feeling about that player, where you stand with that player."

Hall certainly hasn’t done anything to hurt himself through the OHL playoffs. In fact, he raised his stock in the minds of many against the Barrie Colts.

Even if he fails to deliver a rousing encore in the Memorial Cup, Hall won’t be falling out of the top-two. No chance. No way. Thank-you Captain Obvious. Hall’s the real deal. But is he the player the Oilers want? Good luck getting the answer to that out of MacGregor for public consumption.

"I think Taylor has continued to show he’s a player who gives a high level of performance," MacGregor said.

"I don’t think he’s pushed himself any further forward, but he certainly hasn’t allowed himself to slide back. He’s shown that he’s a consistent performer at a high level. He hasn’t hurt himself, in my mind."

MacGregor, WHL scout Bob Brown and GM Steve Tambellini will be in Brandon.

A COMBINED EFFORT

Once the Memorial Cup is done, the next step toward draft day is the NHL Combine, where 100 invitees will do fitness testing and submit themselves to poking and prodding in interviews with teams.

The Oilers will interview 80 or so players, and they’ll approach the process differently than they used to, when the Oilers contingent would include the entire scouting staff, or eight or 10 people.

Instead of running prospects through a gauntlet of scouts, often throwing them like raw meat to Dave Semenko for a rubber-hose job to test the mettle of the youngsters as they used to, it’ll be MacGregor, OHL scouts Kent Hawley and Brad Davis and Tambellini doing the interviews.

"We don’t go with a huge group because it becomes overwhelming," said MacGregor. "The players can become extremely intimidated by walking into a group of eight or 10 guys.

"You only get 20 minutes with these guys, so you’re doing 20 guys a day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m."

TORY A CANDIDATE?

Radio analyst and Oilers Lunch host Bob Stauffer brought up Tri-City Americans GM Bob Tory as a candidate to oversee the Oilers new AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City in the last couple of days, and he might be on to something.

Tory, who used to run the show with the Kootenay Ice before setting up shop in Washington as GM and part-owner, has a long track record of team-building and success.

His impressive resume aside, Tory certainly has an ally in the 53-year-old MacGregor. The two have been friends since elementary school and they played peewee hockey together in Edmonton.

"He’s a very, very good hockey guy," MacGregor said. "He’s a smart guy. Bob has done a great job getting that organization headed in the right direction. Bob’s a very good evaluator. He knows what he’s doing. You are always interested in good people."

 

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Petr's Jofa

    @ Reality Check

    He’s not refusing to answer your question. Mr. Brownlee answered the Hall/Seguin question so why don’t you go look for it yourself?

    Do you not understand this, or is it your opinion that Robin should spend his time answering the same questions over and over to satisfy the latest Johnny-come-latelys who are too lazy to register or spend 2 minutes to search through his previous articles?

    If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, you could look up 4 replies and see that Mark already answered the question for you.

    (is there a minimum age you have to be before you can use the term Johnny-come-lately?)

    • Ducey

      (is there a minimum age you have to be before you can use the term Johnny-come-lately?)

      40 I think. Any younger and it would have to be modified to Tyler or Matt or Ryan-come-lately. Noone names their kid John anymore.

      Its unbelievable to me that people think the Oilers should give a rats a$$ what the average “Ryan” (noone names their kid Joseph anymore either) thinks about who would be the best draft pick.

      None of you have ever seen these guys play live, practice, talked to their parents, stood next to them, talked to their coach etc. I expect most would have seen Hall play a few games on TV and maybe 1 or 2 of Seguin. You won’t be there at the combine and you are not in the business of watching hundreds of prospects over many years.

      But yeah, feel free to criticize the Oilers if the take Seguin.

  • Bucknuck

    Robin,
    you told us who they are picking without telling us. Very masterful writing, that. Not that you care, but you get kudos from me.

    They are watching Hall, but unless he demonstrates something they haven’t seen before he is not the guy.

    I think I feel ok about that. I liked the way Seguin spoke much better in his interiew anyway. He actually wants to be here.

  • Ball Buster

    Now that the Seguin/Hall matter is settled for those that have read between the lines, I would like to echo the question put forward by a couple of posters already:
    Let’s move on to the 2nd and 3rd rounds etc.

    Any word on what kind of players the Oilers are looking for in the later rounds? Are they looking for more org depth at goal? Are they shifting focus from speed as the ultimate weapon to smart, positional, big guys even if they don’t have that outside speed?

    Any hints that they may want to flip that 31st pick and a warm body to get another 1st round pick?

    Sheldon Souray is a freebie in my mind since he signed UFA and no assets were given up to acquire him. Given cap implications and a soured relationship, what’s the appetite to send him out on June 25th for a pick and then, as many have suggested, treasure hunt for bargain-bin, dependable types in UFA period? Does he really get you that much more by waiting for July 1st to come and go and then deal with whatever team is left standing?

    7 weeks to draft day.

    • Bucknuck

      Answered this earlier, but . . . I don’t have a feel for what the Oilers might do at 31 because a lot can happen between now and the draft, but I’ll be sniffing around as it approaches.

      Things really start to heat up about 10 days or so before the draft and that’s when I get on the phone and get busy.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    I really can’t understand why we have a management team, scouting staff and coaching staff because clearly HF Boards should be running this team.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Brownlee

    If we packaged our 31st overall pick and Nashville’s pick how high do you think we could move up? Would that be enough to get us to the 20th overall or just up 5 or so spots?

  • jadeddog

    Oilers take Hall unless they already have a deal in place with Bruins . Then the avenues are open to take Sequin by remaining silent till then . Oilers weak all over the place, and if Hemsky were to go we would have literally nobody of consequence on right wing (keep that in mind along with size criteria ). Left wing we are not much better if Penner were let go . Here is a list i think might be worth watching . I very seldom see my picks chosen by the Oilers , but then their picks are not overwhelming most of the time either . 1. Sequin , only because they worked a deal with Bruins to let them have Hall . 4. E. Gundbranson D. 9. Forbert D, 10. R.Johansen C, 12. N.Neidereitter RW , 15 . J.McFarland LW, 28. J.Schwartz C,29. A.Petrovic D ,31. K.Kabanov LW , 38. J.Tinordi D, 41. B.Buekeboom D, 55. J.Hishon C ,72. K.Agostino LW ,108. C.Cunningham LW ,131. J.Ramage D .

    • So even though they have the right to pick whomever they want, they’re only taking Seguin because they have a deal with Boston? What would the Oil get if they actually thought Hall was the best prospect but let Boston have him?

      You sound like a conspiracy nut

      • Chris.

        No conspiracy , just simple logic . If Bruins want Hall so badly ,and Oilers are still undecided and maybe content with either then a deal with Bruins should be on the table . If not, then Tams has missed the boat again . Bruins own first round pick (23-30th ) might be intriguing ? Hows this : Bruins give us their 23-30th (Bruins first round pick ) pick for our 31st or 51st place pick (second round ?

        • So, despite reports coming out that the Oil will select Seguin (#1 rated prospect) to fill their obvious need at Centre, the Bruins are going to sweeten the pot for Tambellini by giving up their additional 1st rounder so the Oil dont take Hall (who they arent taking anyway).

          Did I get that right?

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    question 1: how many teams have won a cup over the last 10 years without a legit #1 center?

    question 2: how do teams usually obtain said #1 center?

    question 3: have the oilers been able to trade for a superstar since the human rake?

    question 4: how would the oilers get a #1 center?

    question 5: how many years do you want the oilers to suck ass to get more top 2 picks?

  • Chris.

    I love how some people are absolutely convinced that they know who would be the better first overall pick for the Oiler organization.

    I sure wish that I was just like these fortunate few fans who have met both the players for extended private interviews. I wish I had had the similar opportunity to travel dozens of times accross the country to watch Hall and Sequin play live. It must have been cool when they met with the coaches, friends, family, and agents of these two great young blue chippers… I’m sure envious of these fans who, unlike me, are intimately aware of the true progress of the other players in the system, have been appraised of all potential draft day deals, and have a complete understanding of the true long term plans of the franchise moving forward!

    On the other hand, it must be frustrating to have spent so much time and energy meticulously forming the correct opinion only to watch the lazy Oiler scouting staff make a horrible mistake!

    • Chris.

      Chris, given this line of thinking why would anyone, including u, including Brownlee who is apparently NEVER wrong about anything, including any hockey knowledgeable fan anywhere ever question anything that is sports related????

      Why would you come on here and ever question anything that Tambellini does or Lowe does or anyone who has been in the business and behind the scenes and in the locker rooms and on the benches? Why is it ok for you and others to question the Tambellini’s of the world or the Lowe’s or the Quinn’s and say things as if they are idiots and that you know better when they clearly have done more managing, more coaching, more player evaluating, etc. than you could ever dream of doing?

      Why is is it so far fetched to question what scouts might think or say?…are you saying the scouts NEVER blow a pick? Are you saying the scouts have every player ranked properly on every scouting list that exists? Are you saying that teams never draft the wrong player? Maybe there are fans out there who are knowledgeable about hockey, who do know how to evaluate things and can be right about things too at times? Is this not possible? If it isn’t then I guess what every fan has to say on this blog and any other blog or in any forum is pointless….

      Like I said, it’s funny to hear yourself and anyone else who comes on here and trash management, trash coaches, trash players like you are all experts but how dare anyone question a pick that the scouts may be considering or a pick they may make….the nerve of some people who just may be right when they see something in a player or something else.

      Fans aren’t always wrong….and scouts aren’t always right

      • Chris.

        I’ll pick apart decisions, and form opinions when I have access to at least some relevent info. For example, it makes me crazy when Strudwick is on the ice during the final minute of a one goal game… I believe it is fair for me to complain about this because I have watched Strudwick play live several, several times…

        Other times, I will use statistics, or the benifit of hindsight to agonize over mistakes that have been made.

        That said, I just don’t see how most of you guys on Team Hall, or Team Sequin, think your opinion is even 1/100th as informed as that of Oiler scouting. In fact, If I thought your opinion was even 1/25th as informed I’d stop laughing at you guys and listen to what you had to say on the matter. The only thing I’m certain of, is that I lack the rescources to complain about the pick with any legitimacy.

        • Chris.

          Many fans have played the game…many fans have played that game at fairly high levels…many fans may have coached, managed, been around the game quite a lot…

          Maybe fans haven’t been able to interview the players, maybe the fans haven’t met their parents, maybe fans haven’t seen them play live every night but there are other things to go on…

          Us fans DO have access to relevant info, there’s tons of info, there is tons of exposure, there are tons of results, accomplishments…there are many avenues to develop an opinion…

          Let me ask you a question…were you laughing at the fans sitting in the stands at the draft when it was held in Edmonton who were yelling Doan, Doan, Doan and applauding the Oilers when they ignored all those stupid fans and drafted Steve Kelly….the history of the draft is riddled with major mistakes and not just later round picks…sometimes teams mess up the 1st overall pick too…

          I wouldn’t be so quick to disregard everyone and just blindly put your faith in the scouting staff….I hope they get it right…but I’m not as convinced as many others that they will.

          • Chris.

            The Duke of Hafford wrote:

            I would have no concerns with the Oilers picking Seguin if he was the best player available but he isnt.

            He says this like he knows it’s true… By all accounts I’ve read it’s a real toss up between the two players… for fans to make such bold statements without having access to any additional real good info is just a waste of everyone’s time. I have been very critical of Oiler scouting under Predergast. I used hindsight and cross team comparisons to form my criticisms…but I never generated a private list that outperformed Predergast’s… how could I? It’s not my job. 99.99999% of fans who claim they could are liars.

            Stu drafted Eberle (WHL Player of the year) at 22nd or 23rd overall… based on that alone: I’ll trust Stu over the Duke of Hafford to make the best choice.

            You like Hall. I get it… but you can’t be absolutely certain he’s the BPA… nobody is.

      • Chris.

        BTW. You are correct. Fans aren’t always wrong… and scouts aren’t always right.

        When Stu picks Sequin first overall seven weeks from now there’s probably a fifty/fifty chance that you will be right. In five years time you can remind me about it…

        • Chris.

          Well we can hope the scouts are right about one thing…and that is that neither pick will be a wrong pick and that both players will shine equally on the NHL stage….

          I just have this sinking feeling we are going to pass up on the eventual superstar and have a decent, well rounded two way player for years to come…

      • I’m never wrong about anything? Do you believe that’s what I think, even with all the times I’ve pointed out my own misses? Really?

        — Moreau gone by the trade deadline. Didn’t happen, although it wasn’t for lack of trying.

        — Schremp traded by the draft two years ago. Nope. Came later.

        — No chance Comrie comes back. Oops. Didn’t check with MC before writing it last fall.

        — My initial read on the Oilers 2010 draft preference was Hall. Jumped the gun before talking to everybody.

        That’s just off the top of my head.

        • Well given this then I do hope you are wrong about a couple of other things (ie: Hemsky and Seguin)…all I can do is hope 🙂

          You did make a point of telling us earlier in this thread about being right on earlier calls but you didn’t mention these incorrect calls until now on this thread…

          I’m glad to hear you are human after all, like the rest of us and can admit to both and not just the being right calls.

  • I can’t wait for the Oil to draft Seguin so I can hear all the “Team Hall” players bash the Oil next year when Hall is better… but I will be disappointed in the following years when Seguin proves to be the better choice… oh wells 😉

    • What will you say if this doesn’t happen? How long are you going to wait to declare Seguin better?

      I hope whoever the Oilers get that he turns out better whether it be Seguin or Hall…

      I just think it’ll be Hall…and I have this gut feeling it won’t be as close as everyone thinks it’s going to be…

      If we get Seguin I WANT to be wrong but I can hear the excuses already…

      Once again it will be how Hall plays on a better team and that’s why he looks like the better player…

  • I really don’t understand the knocks on Hall. There are way more knocks on Seguin then there is on Hall. So what if Seguin is a center. Hall can play center and wing. You always pick best player available and Hall is exactly that. You never pick based on position. Never. You think Detroit cares what position what player plays in. Nope. They draft BPA. If they are drafting to get a “centre” then that is the wrong approach.

    • You think Detroit cares what position what player plays in

      What does Detroit have to do with anything? In the last 15 years they have only had one top 20 pick, so we couldn’t even begin to guess what their strategy might be with a number one.

      As far as I can tell they have been successful primarily by getting unbelievably lucky with late round picks. Forgive me if I’m not entirely excited at the prospect of depending on luck.

  • The Duke of Hafford

    The Oilers need to be taking the best player available not the best projected player. This draft is too important to be taking chances. If you want to take a chance use the 31st pick for that or try trading for another first round pick.

    There seems to be three arguments in favour of Seguin 1)he’s a centre 2)he’s right handed and 3)he’s project to be a better player. Although Central Scouting has him projected as the #1 pick, there are numerous other reports that have Hall #1 including the Red Line Report and TSN. Lets not forget Central Scouting also projected Turris ahead of Kane and we have seen how accurate that was.

    On Oilers lunch today Bob was talking to the guy from the Red Line Report who said that Hall has a quicker first step and faster top end speed. Add to that the fact Hall has averaged more ppg over his junior career, has helped his team win in the playoffs for the past two years, won the memorial cup mvp and has been a leader at the World Juniors. And lets not forget that Hall played centre most of his life. Hall is the best player in the draft and the Oilers should not pass him up for a guy who has had only one good year in the juniors.

    I would have no concerns with the Oilers picking Seguin if he was the best player available but he isnt. Making the pick based on who they project to be better is extremely high risk and the Oilers cant afford to be taking chances this year.

    • Why is it so difficult for some people to grasp that the term “best player available” is based on how players project a minimum of 3-5 years down the road?

      This idea of projection isn’t some new-fangled concept the Oilers have cooked up, it’s how EVERY team grades 18-year-olds. It’s the norm. It’s the single most important consideration. Even in years where there is significant and obvious separation between the top prospect and everybody else — not the case with Seguin and Hall — it works that way.

      If you like Hall better, that’s fine. But don’t make it sound like the Oilers are trying to re-invent the wheel if they project Seguin as the better player. That’s how it’s done. Throwing out Kane and Turris means nothing. When teams get it right, it’s because they’ve projected 3-5 years down the road correctly. When they get it wrong, it means they haven’t.

      At least understand that much before you go on and on.

      • Why is it so difficult for some people to grasp that the term “best player available” is based on how players project a minimum of 3-5 years down the road?

        This is the part that is killing me as well. What exactly do people think the draft is for? It’s getting frustrating.

  • Oil99

    What’s with this big Stu lovin all of a sudden? I like the looks of Eberle and MPS as well, but lets not forget that they have yet to prove to be good or bad picks.

    Let’s also not forget that this is the same Stu who has been part of the Oilers scouting staff for the last 8 yrs in which they have drafted far more duds then good ones.

    Lastly, no offense to you Robin, but you sound very rude and pompous in your replies to other posters. It’s as if you talk down to them and act all “higher than thou”

    Some patience, tact and a little respect will go a long way.

  • Pajamah

    Its much easier to poo-poo every decision made by professionals, so that one day, you can “told you so” everyone here.

    I would love to see someone truly take a leap on a player in a positive light.

    Hall could be a Brett Hull, Eric Lindros type player

    Seguin could be a Bryan Trottier, Steve Yzerman type player

    But no…..one is the next Gretzky, and the other, Patrick Stefan, and we better not f*ck this up

    ugh…

  • Pajamah

    Oh Brownlee, this is why you’re my favourite sports media guy. You get down in the peanut gallery and sling poop around with the rest of us. And for the record, I am not stating my uneducated opinion on which draft eligible player I like better. I am not tipping my hand. I’m not like this uneducated lot who form an opinion without asking Disco Stu MacGregor’s permission first. I am on Team Fence with my friend Staples. Because we don’t want to be wrong. And we are not professional scouts. So don’t even try to ask me which way I am leaning…

    • Pajamah

      To be honest, I’m with you.

      I don’t know enough about Hall or Seguin first-hand to say which player projects better. In the years I covered the WHL, 1982-88, I’d see the players on the teams I covered (New Westminster Bruins and Kamloops Blazers) all season long and get a steady diet of the teams they played against. Even with that first-hand look on and off the ice, I’d get it wrong as often as right when trying to project players as pros.

      With Hall and Seguin, I’m not saying I believe the Oilers should draft Seguin, I’m simply saying I’m sure they will.

  • Chris.

    This is a unique site that allows the fan to interact with guy(s) who are actually plugged in.

    Maybe you should go back to HF boards and waste your time passing along recycled garbage rumors… After all; isn’t that what you want? Rabble? Chaos? A pure BLOG?

    Edit. Hey where did jk’s stupid rant go? I quess my comment no longer makes sense.

  • Chris.

    Quick question. Is it possible for Riley Nash to come to camp without having a contract in place? Rumor is that he may choose not to go back to Cornell if he can earn a roster spot with the Oilers… Is there such a thing as trying out for a one way contract? I’m kind of curious in a more hypothetical sense.