TAYLOR HALL, OFF TO MARS

 

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?

MUSIC!

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    I really hope Taylor at center works out as that leads to amazing line combos. I think we saw Yak really starting to take off the last 15 games of last year. Nuge, Yak and Perron, wow, that is probably the first line or at least 1B. But how strong will the 3 rd line be? Much stronger as Lowetide postulated. This needs serious consideration and Im sure it will. Eakins isn’t married to the staus quo lines of years past. How about Omark, Gordon, Hemsky? Now we would have a 3 rd line that does more than kill time and get clobbered.

  • I really hope Taylor at center works out as that leads to amazing line combos. I think we saw Yak really starting to take off the last 15 games of last year. Nuge, Yak and Perron, wow, that is probably the first line or at least 1B. But how strong will the 3 rd line be? Much stronger as Lowetide postulated. This needs serious consideration and Im sure it will. Eakins isn’t married to the staus quo lines of years past. How about Omark, Gordon, Hemsky? Now we would have a 3 rd line that does more than kill time and get clobbered.

  • I really hope Taylor at center works out as that leads to amazing line combos. I think we saw Yak really starting to take off the last 15 games of last year. Nuge, Yak and Perron, wow, that is probably the first line or at least 1B. But how strong will the 3 rd line be? Much stronger as Lowetide postulated. This needs serious consideration and Im sure it will. Eakins isn’t married to the staus quo lines of years past. How about Omark, Gordon, Hemsky? Now we would have a 3 rd line that does more than kill time and get clobbered.

  • Wax Man Riley

    He’s saying the right things because he’s under the impression it’s short term. He has repeatedly said LW is his preference. This “let’s move a LW to C and a C to the wing (gagner) is not making sense to me. MacT needs to sign or trade for a C, that’s his job. The sooner the better. Though I realize he can’t do everything at once. To me Gagner is fine until then.

    • Word to the Bird

      This. Isn’t moving Gagner to the wing with Hall at centre just the same thing anyways? The centre depth is still awful. It’s not fair to lump that responsibility on the players, that’s MacT’s job to find someone capable of playing centre.

  • Funny. The only guy who disagrees Taylor Hall at center long term is a good idea is Taylor Hall.

    I can’t remember the number of times He’s said “Yeah I’ll do it if I have to but I really prefer the wing.”

      • Yes, for the short term…..

        The only people who want it long term is the two Jabroni’s who want to keep reliving the 80’s.

        Taylor Hall will not make the Olympic squad because MacTavish can’t find a way to address the black hole at center and that’s a bloody shame.

        As for the so called 3rd line, I will be waiting patiently for the article explaining how bad of an idea it was to put Hemsky – Gordon – Smyth on a line together.

        This team makes me hotter than a mosquito in a room full of mannequins!

  • John Chambers

    Worth pursuing for sure and I agree that it’s worth a look.
    I’m antsy like some others out there tho. Taylor is on the cusp of becoming a dominant player in the league as a winger. Now let’s try him at centre? It’s like the kid is running down the home stretch and we threw him an extra hurdle to jump, hoping the he doesn’t trip.

  • John Chambers

    Hall, is very strong in his own end of the rink, on top of being a skater, shooter etc.makes him a likely candidate for center ice, why not. The only big question is how good can he be in the face off circle. He.s got the rest to be the best.

    Some of the biggest stars in this game play-ed that postion.

  • Oilerz4life

    The diagram thing is off. It shows C,L,R. Hall, Gagner, Eberle. That would mean pulling Gagner out of center and putting him at wing?! Also, you have Smyth slotted in on the third line with Gordon and Hemsky. We all know Smytty is on the forth line slotted in as press box/associate coach Paul Newman player coaching position.

  • John Chambers

    The other part of this equation is Gagner and Smid getting traded for a top D (Byfuglien?), and replacing 89 with a Steve Ott / Troy Brouwer type.

    Make it happen.

  • Craig1981

    I love those line combinations, been thinking of those for a bit. I think having him able to play C when RNH or Gagner are scratched would be huge asset.
    I think having Smyth there is ok, but perhaps limiting him to 60 games or so giving Omark a chance to suit up would be good. Jones might be a nice fit as well with Gorden and Hemsky.

  • Lowetide

    I’m confused – why would you move (arguably) the best LW in the league to C, and then move your 2C (who shoots R) to 1LW when he’s never played there.

    Hall – Nuge – Eberle
    Perron – Gagner – Yak

    Although let’s be honest it would be fun to see what a line of the three #1s would do, leaving Gagner with Perron and Ebs. With Hemmer in the wings

    This whole options thing is kinda weird and creepy