Big Decisions: Taylor Hall over Tyler Seguin

At the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, the Oilers owned the first overall pick and faced a choice: to draft Taylor Hall, the dynamic left winger who had been the favourite entering the season, or centre Tyler Seguin, who had enjoyed a superb year and was the only other challenger.

They chose Taylor over Tyler. Did they make the right decision?

A year in, the decision looked pretty good. As rookies, Seguin was stuck in a depth role on a very strong Boston Bruins team (he has a Stanley Cup ring now, thanks to the Oilers’ decision) and looked the part – he finished with 22 points in the regular season and his line got outshot badly despite the fact that he was playing for a pretty good team.

Hall meanwhile played a feature role on a miserable Oilers squad, finishing one point out of the team scoring lead despite losing time down the stretch after an ill-advised fight that led to injury.

A year later, things are less clear cut.

Seguin blossomed in his second NHL season, scoring 29 goals and recording 67 points, finishing as the scoring leader on the 102-point Boston Bruins. He had some advantages – the Patrice Bergeron line, as has been the case for a long time in Boston, took on the big defensive zone minutes, but Seguin’s group out-shot and out-scored their opponents.

In Edmonton, Hall also took a step forward, scoring 27 goals and recording 53 points in just 61 games. Not only that, but Hall’s line dominated the shot clock, though he had the same sort of zone start advantages that Seguin enjoyed in Boston. The problem was less with his play than with injury – this is the second season in a row Hall’s year has been cut short. Not only did he suffer a concussion, but he’s undergoing off-season shoulder surgery to repair a problem that’s plagued him since junior.

Did the Oilers make the right decision? The answer to that question isn’t clear, and likely won’t be clear at any point over the next decade, unless injury plays a hand. Hall was the safer choice to carry over his junior performance to the NHL (having a longer track record in junior than Seguin) but Seguin plays a more influential position – centres controlling the game to a greater degree than wingers.

Hall’s a splendid player, and choosing him was a defensible decision. I don’t know how it will turn out over the long run, but it’s not a decision I regret seeing made, and if I had to bet I’d bet on Hall having the higher-end career, and Seguin the longer one.

Note: As has been pointed out in the comments, while Seguin is expected to play centre eventually, he’s spent much of his time in Boston on the wing, while David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron have played up the middle.  At this moment in time, both players are wingers.

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  • O.C.

    Interesting thread. I have had the same debate over the past year with a lot of people and my question in the end is this: would you rather have Hall and RNH or Seguin and Landeskog? I know I would rather have RNH over Seguin as a centerman, and Hall over Landeskog as a winger. Maybe the Oilers would have gone with RNH a year after drafting Seguin, but I am not sure about that since they would have needed a high end winger or two.

    FWIW, looking at the defence and overall team, Hall would have probably put up bigger numbers than Seguin did with the Bruins (as well as the Oilers). My rationale is based on how close Taylor’s numbers were in fewer games on a much weaker team. You really can’t accurately compare the two right now since Boston is so much stronger. Give it a couple of years when the Oilers are hopefully closer to the Bruins and then we will see which player is more dominant.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    I still think drafting Murray is the best option long term for the Oilers…yes Yakupov is good and the team needs to have another line that can score other than the kid line, but why not put PRV with Gagner and Hemsky and see what he can do with guys that can put up 50-60pts. IMO it would be easier to sign a winger who could play 2/3rd line mins if PRV doesnt pan out on the 2nd line in FA than a dman like Weber or Suter without a massive overpayment which is what ST shouldnt do with Hall, Eberle, and PRV coming out of thier ELCs and RNH the yr after.

    My lines look like this

    Hall/RNH/Eberle

    PRV,FA/Gagner/Hemsky

    Smyth(if resigned),PRV,FA/Horcoff/Jones

    Eager/Belanger/Petrell,Harti

    Smid/Petry

    Whitney/Shultz

    Murray,Peckham/Sutton,Tueburt

    Oyea I’d still take Hall over Seguin anyday.

    • Murray being the best option long term for the Oilers! That’s rich!

      Just a couple of issues here with your long term plan. Paajarvi will never be a second line scoring winger it’s just not happening, no mater how much Oilers fans want it.

      Hemsky will be gone in a year and a half and the Oilers are not resigning him for more money! That’s a fact!
      So, that leaves two holes in your second scoring line in the not to distant future.

      Where are you going to find that winger who can possible put up anywhere from 30-40 goals per year? There just soo easy to find!

      People need to realize that Murray is NOT an elite defensmen! He will take as long as Smid has to develop! then your still only left with a 2/3 defensmen at best.

      Yakupov will be an imidiate help and has bigger upside long term, not to mention will have massive trade value should the Oilers not be able to get the defensmen they need.

      Like you said, the Oilers need secondary scoring. IMO as bad as they need a top defensmen.

  • DSF

    Intersting, when Hall was with Windsor, people were talking about how he was playing with a stacked team and Sequin was not. Now the situation has reversed and it still looks pretty even.

    I would like to see Hall in the playoffs though, that’s where we might see the difference. Prior to getting three points in the last two Bruin playoff games, I thought I had heard that Sequin had 1 point in his last 15 playoff games.

  • Rose Colored Glasses

    Really, have we run out of things to talk about.

    2 years in and we are going to start looking back at this.

    You can not even compare the picks when the teams are both in different stages.

    Quit lookin in the rear view mirror and keeps your eyes on the road.

  • DSF

    Wouldn’t even hesitate to pick Hall again, hands down the better player. If we had to choose twenty times between the two I’d pick Hall twenty more times. He was the BPA and #1.

  • DSF

    @DSF

    That is why the Oilers finished 30 , 30th and 29th in the last 3 years. That is not an easy task. You must have some serious problems.

    They are selling a product with bells and whistles but if you look behind the curtain you find as you say :

    “Hopkins, Gagner, Horcoff and Belanger is likely the worst centre depth in the league.”

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Hall wins by the simple fact he has the leadership look, desire, and skills which is exactly what this team needs.

    I was in the Seguin camp prior to the draft, but now I can see!

  • oilersplumber

    Must be a slow news day. You writer type guys have too much time to think. Lets get to talking about realistic things…….
    This is like comparing…..
    Apples to Oranges
    Grapes to Bananas
    Wayne to Gordie
    Harold Ballard to Harold LLoyd
    My wife to her mother

  • jonnyquixote

    Any one who would prefer Seguin over Hall right now is spending too much time staring at the GP on the statsheet and not nearly enough time actually watching their games.

    Seguin is a damned fine player for his age.

    But Hall is a motherf***ing engine.

  • DSF

    I am now a big fan of both Hall and RNH after seeing them play at the NHL level but I wasvery much opposed to both of those picks at the time.

    So I think that question should be taken to a different level – especially if the Oilers trade down for or take Murray this year:

    Would you pick:

    Hall, RNH and Murray or

    Seguin, Larsson and Yakupov.

    I know which I’d pick…

  • Quicksilver ballet

    DSF does make some valid points though…

    According to Steve Tambellini, the Oilers are the best long term last place club ever. When will he start looking at this roster honestly?