GDB 49.0: DEBATE IN DALLAS

Four years ago the Taylor vs. Tyler debate was just beginning. For the next six months both sides debated the merits of Hall and Seguin. The Oilers chose Hall and the Bruins happily settled for Seguin. Four years later both have developed into dynamic offensive players and both of them still have room to improve.

The debate isn’t as intense as it was four years ago, likely because both are producing and both fan bases are happy with the player the drafted, or in Boston’s case the players they received when they traded Seguin, but their individual success means the debate will continue and maybe even intensify in the future.

They play different positions, and in their first three years they played for teams at opposite end of the standings spectrum. Hall was saddled with the pressure of being the face of a franchise, while Seguin got his feet wet being surrounded by great players and winning a Stanley Cup.

When Seguin was traded to Dallas this past summer he was thrust into a situation similar to Hall. Both of them will now be looked upon to lead their respective franchises to the playoffs, and in the incredibly competitive western conference that won’t be an easy task.

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This year their offensive totals are very close.

Hall has 18 goals and 43 points in 41 games.
Seguin has 21 goals and 41 points in 43 games.

Seguin is playing with Olympian Jamie Benn and Russian man-child Valeri Nichushkin. They’ve become a very dangerous line, and I’m curious to see Lindy Ruff will match the Seguin line against Hall’s line tonight. Ruff would get a better matchup playing Seguin vs. the Arcobello line; however, many coaches know that their best players like the challenge of playing against the other team’s top line. 

I’d argue that the Seguin trio is just as much of a challenge as facing Sidney Crosby’s line, and a bit different due to the size of Benn and Nichushkin.

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Hall and Seguin will forever be linked together, and four years later I still think Hall is slightly ahead of Seguin, but only by the slimmest of margins. 

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LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Gagner
Yakupov-Arcobello-Eberle
Perron-Gordon-Hemsky
Jones-Smyth-Gazdic

Ference-J.Schultz
Marincin-Petry
Belov-N.Schultz

Bryzgalov

No reason to change the forward lines. Keep them together and try to build some chemistry. I understand why coaches changes lines frequently, even the top teams do, but I’d keep the top-three the same for a few more games just to see what happens. 

Corey Potter is back skating, and the only player you might take out for a game is N.Schultz because he’s playing the right side. I wouldn’t do it, but that seems like the only option on the blueline.

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QUICK HITS

  • The dilemma facing Craig MacTavish over the next eight months will be deciding how he wants to construct his blueline. Martin Marincin has looked good, albeit in only ten games, and if he keeps playing well do the Oilers plan to have him in their top-six next season along with J.Schultz, Jeff Petry and possibly Darnell Nurse?

    That would be three D-men in their top-six with less than 130 NHL games, and Petry will have less than 240 games under his skates. I don’t see them succeeding with that much inexperience on the blueline. For me, Nurse will need to be incredibly good to last more than nine games. Inserting more youth into the lineup won’t help. If all four of them make it, that means two of them will be paired together. I know Marincin and Petry have played together the past few games, but it is asking a lot of Marincin to be a top-four D-man next year.

    I would bring ensure I have at least three proven, steady veteran D-men at the start of next season, and if the young kids play well enough to keep them, then at least you will have some insurance when they hit a rough patch. I’d err on side of caution and start with more veterans and less youth on the blueline next October.
     

  • I agree with Willis that Petry is a competent NHL D-man, but my issue with him is his consistency at key times of the game. For instance during the 5-on-3 vs. Chicago. Petry has control of the puck, but can’t clear the zone. Keith keeps in it, and seconds later it is in the back of the net. Petry has to get that puck out of the zone. We don’t know if the Hawks could have regrouped, re-entered the zone and scored, but not getting the puck out allowed them to stay set up.

    Petry is a competent D-man on a bad hockey team, but I’m not sold he is a guy you build around. He might be a good complementary player, but I don’t see him as a backbone defender.
     

  • Ales Hemsky will be traded. Why would he re-sign in Edmonton to be the #3 RW. By March 5th, Eberle and Yakupov will still be on the team, so the Oilers won’t be able to guarantee him a spot in their top-six at that time. They could roll the dice and keep him with the hope they move one of the other two, because their value is higher, before free agency starts and convince Hemsky to stay, but I doubt that happens. So rather than lose him for nothing, he will be dealt before the deadline.

    There is a large contingent of fans and media who don’t like Hemsky, but you can’t overlook his skill. How many forwards can walk around Duncan Keith and score like he did on Sunday? Of course you’d like to see that more often, but that play is why opposing GMs will still be intrigued by Hemsky. Hemsky has basically been playing in a 3rd line role this year, but he has the skill to be a top-six forward. He is still fearless on the ice, and I suspect he will have success in a new situation.

    The question is what kind of return will Hemsky fetch? Teams have always overpaid for players at the deadline. An aging Robyn Regehr got Buffalo two 2nd rounders last year. The Sabres also received a first rounder for Paul Gaustad a few years ago. Every GM is willing to pay something different. MacTavish must be hoping Hemsky plays well at the Olympics, because a good showing there will increase his value significantly. 

TONIGHT…..

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hall and Seguin each finish with two points, but the Oilers lose a close game 5-4.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Martin Marincin has another strong game giving hope to beleaguered Oiler fans that in the future the blueline will eventually improve.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Many of the Nation readers will send emails to Kate Beckinsale’s fanmail account after noticing she isn’t wearing a ring in the above photo. Good luck fellas, if any of you get a response let me know, we will post it on the Nation. After the Oilers loss, many will numb the pain by watching Underworld.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 


  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    I can see the debate over which player (Hall or Seguin)is better continuing for the rest of their careers. They are both excellent young players and I don’t think we’ve seen the best from either one yet.

    In my mind however I’m glad we took Tyler.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    Do you go to ON each day to see if they have finally fired someone in management , or to see if a good trade has come ? MacT. appears to have turned into Tams , unable to do anything of consequence to improve on ice performance once season starts . Obviously with the mazes of people he must get approval to make moves , like Tams it never comes to fruition , or it comes to late and another team snaps up that opportunity . I doubt being a new GM has much to do with it , it’s more the mazes preventing acting boldly and swiftly .

    I wonder if management should not apply same philosophy to themselves as they do to the players : if they are not contributing to better the team and results , then they should be let go one way or the other ? They know the problems but as a group obviously cannot readily enough to rectify them . Two many chiefs or cooks in the kitchen by the sounds of it ? Like promoting people to a higher degree of incompetence at times ? A MacT. decision seems more like a group decision , and the group has not done well and retard efforts to make our on ice product any better .

  • Bucknuck

    The Oil need to add two first pairing defenders. I wonder how they are going to accomplish that. I sure hope it doesn’t take too long. I like Petry and Ference as second pairing defenders.

    On another note, Kate Beckinsale is one of the most beautiful ladies on the planet. Thank you for posting that, Mr. Gregor.

  • Serious Gord

    Re: Tyler vs Taylor

    First I will state what my position was at the draft: I felt that the oil had no choice but to draft hall. No one could pick Seguin over him as hall was the two-time Mem Cup MVP.

    Had Lowe/tambo picked Seguin they likely would have been second-guessed long after both players were dead and buried (literally).

    I thought then that they were very very close in promise with Seguin having a slight advantage because in addition to being roughly equal in abilities he was a centre and almost a year younger.

    Today I think that they still are very much equals with Seguin being slightly better in shot and hockey IQ and 200ft play. And should they both stay healthy the debate will continue.

    The better “what if” is:

    Would both players be better today if they had been taken by opposite teams:

    Hall was and is a far better fit on Boston than he is here and a centre of Seguin s abilities are in acute demand while the bruins have a surplus at that position.

    Had that happened the oil IMO would likely have made the playoffs at least once by now and the bruins would have one more cup.

    • Jason Gregor

      Hall was and is a far better fit on Boston than he is here and a centre of Seguin s abilities are in acute demand while the bruins have a surplus at that position.

      Had that happened the oil IMO would likely have made the playoffs at least once by now and the bruins would have one more cup.

      Sequin is so good that he would have made the Oilers that much better defensively? Really? Please enlighten me how Seguin instead of Hall would have improved the Oilers enough to make the playoffs.

      They missed playoffs by 35 points Hall’s rookie season.
      They missed playoffs by 21 points in 2012.
      They missed playoffs by 10 points last year in only 48 games.

      Any suggestion that Seguin in place of Hall would have led to a playoff spot is purely laughable.

    • Bucknuck

      The Oil would not have made the playoffs in any of the last four years because they have never had the horses on Defense. They need the same thing they have needed since 2007, a competent Defense.

      Until they get that missing piece, they will not make the playoffs.

      Hall has single handedly won games, and I am sure Seguin has done the same thing. I can’t see having one over the other would be the magical ingredient.

      • Serious Gord

        Perhaps I overstate. With Seguin there would not have been a surplus on the wing; some pressure would have been taken off of gagner (I doubt he would have been traded) and Horcoff.

        • pkam

          Not sure what you are talking about. Hall is a LW and we never have surplus on LW, and we don’t even have any surplus on wings until we draft Yak. So how do you know 3 years down the road we will draft another wing.

          If you really want to use the surplus in wings as your argument, perhaps you can do it for Yak’s draft year. But it will be very lame for Hall’s draft year.

        • Zarny

          The cutoff date is usually middle of September ish so Hall would have been one of the older kids in the draft with a late ’91 birth date. Seguin is only 2.5 months younger though and there would have been plenty of kids younger than he in 2010.

          Could just be that if Hall was 2 months older he would have been in the 2009 class.

  • Young Oil

    Debate on Hall vs. Seguin? Who cares? Look at the score after 1 period. 3-1 Dallas. There’s the answer to the debate? Dallas is a better team with a playoff chance. I agree with @Jason, how about an article on Burke vs. Lowe.

  • A-Mc

    The oilers aren’t going to go from bottom feeders to stanley cup champions over the summer. We all know we need #1/2 defensemen but they are likely home grown.

    Realistically speaking if we can snag a couple #3’s over the summer, it’ll go a long way towards seeing the Oilers climb out of the pits of hell that they’ve been in for the last 8 years.

    TLDR; we want a show stopper trade for a stud D but if we can’t get that, can we please get a couple #3’s to get us headed in the right direction!

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      While I agree with your premise that they will not climb out of this overnight, and that the best top D are home-grown, I think you overestimate the ability to climb out in any reasonable period of time. The Oilers won’t be able to have any truly serviceable, top 4-Dmen that they developed themselves for years still. It takes dmen longer to be really NHL ready, and we need them to be the kind of guys who would be top-4 pairing guys on contending teams, not just the Oilers. That is going to take a lot of time–imho, probably 4 years before we see glimpse of the kind of dmen we really need. 4 years from now to see GLIMPSES.

      That’s still a long time for people to need to be patient, and watch as holes are filled temporarily and shoddily, waiting for the saviors/young-homegrown-D to arrive

      • A-Mc

        I didn’t overestimate anything. We both agree that home grown has the best chance of anything close to a #1/2 D. We both agree it takes a LONG time for even a star young player to turn into something useful.

        All i said is that i would like to see a couple #3’s added to the roster so that we can start seeing improvement. 2x #3’s wont get us the playoffs, but they will help us to start advancing.

        An extremely successful summer, to me, would be to start the next season with 2x top 4 defensemen, 2x bigger forwards and a decent starting goalie. That’s a big wish list! But with even these changes, i dont think the Oilers are a solid playoff team.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      which is ridiculous because he’s our most talented player and along with Nuge are the two i wouldn’t trade. but keep in mind, there are those who never want the Oilers to succeed so no matter what we do, it’s wrong!

      • pkam

        If Boston drafted Hall, I doubted they will trade him away. And if Hall is a Bruins, what is the chance he plays for Team Canada?

        Despite he has two big Olympian wingers, Seguin’s PPG is not better than Hall.

        • HardBoiledOil 1.0

          given the fact the B’s already traded Seguin away, i’d say they’d have been happy as pie if they had gotten Hall. needless to say, he’d still be in Boston right now.

  • bazmagoo

    Petry will be a solid 2nd pairing d-man for many years to come, I’d be happy with him and Ference on the 2nd pairing for the next few years. We do need a legitimate #1 d-man, preferably left sided, though. Team isn’t going anywhere if we don’t resolve that glaring hole. Ekblad looks pretty darn solid, so hopefully we don’t jump the Flames in the standings and snag him in the #2 spot, even if he is a right sided guy he looks like a champion. If that was to happen we’d seriously have a wealth of talented prospects on our blue line:

    Nurse
    Ekblad
    Marincin
    Klefbom
    Fedun
    Gernat
    Musil

    You’d have to think 2-3 spots on our future defence will be covered by those 7. The only question is how soon will they be legitimate NHL’ers. Hope sooner rather than later, but there is no way of knowing!

    • pkam

      Don’t forget to add to the mix J. Schultz who has played less 100 NHL games, and Craig Simpson in college.

      Not that I don’t like Ekblad, but we already have so many defense prospects but no depth down the middle, why would we want another defense prospect over a center is beyond me.

      • bazmagoo

        The simple answer to why would we want another defense prospect over a center is – we have the worst defense core in the league, I don’t think that’s even debateable at this stage. I do agree we have a lack of depth at centre, but currently our defensive depth is much more worrying, in my opinion.

    • Zarny

      A couple of D prospects will be part of the long term solution; but it’s insane to think the Oilers can add a 3-5 rookies to an already inexperienced blueline and not have a train wreck.

      Nurse, Klefbom, Marincin, Simpson and Musil all play the left side so #1 there is a logjam.

      Klefbom and Marincin both project to be in Edm next year and Gregor is 100% right neither should be top 4 right away. Which is why MacT should trade one of them.

      Package Klefbom or Marincin with whatever it takes to get a top 2 or top 4 D. Whoever we keep plays on the bottom pair next year. When Nurse arrives I’d shop the other guy around too. Or perhaps you wait a year and trade the remaining guy when Nurse is ready to be a top 4 D.

      Simpson, Musil, Gernat, Fedun…rinse and repeat.

      It’s good Ekblad plays on the right side. IF the Oilers drafted him they should trade Petry or Schultz for a top 4 who is more mature.

      Contenders trade picks and prospects for proven NHL players. It’s that time in Edm.

        • Zarny

          Yep. Hopefully they get Simpson signed. Sounds like he’s doing well. And it’s certainly very possible that Musil, Gernat, Fedun and most of Edm’s prospects never play in the NHL. Or they could top out at the bottom pair.

          Regardless the general premise remains.

          • vetinari

            Well, I hope that the Oilers are smarter than the Ducks and if Simpson doesn’t look like he will sign, they at least flip him at the deadline for something.

  • Robert (AKA Hockey Fan)

    How come that weak call on gagne was called, but the goalie interference on bryz and the boarding penalty against yak weren’t called? Same story in Chi town, some weak calls against and some questionable non calls for.

  • S cottV

    If the Oilers are unable to shore up the d for next year, with one or two veteran d men – they may have to consider fast tracking Nurse.

    Goes against conventional wisdom but the Oilers have to get the d corp up to speed with the the ongoing maturation of Hall, RNH and others.

    Oilers are unlikely to make the playoffs next year, so – maybe bite the bullet and get this guy going. Other first round guys have successfully made the jump and Nurse doesn’t look like a timid or mentally fragile kind of guy.

    • pkam

      He looked good at camp and is having a great year in the OHL, The Oilers need the right d partner for him and he will be on the team.
      I don’t think Seth Jones is any better than Nurse but he gets to play with Weber.

  • Word to the Bird

    I see Kouleas and Buttons really getting livid about the abysmal team here . They say the team should not be waiting any longer , and that they should be doing something major to turn this abysmal team around .

  • Word to the Bird

    I keep hearing Byfulien is available in Winnipeg. wonder what the oil would have to give up for him? the oil could sure use his size but probably not his alledged laziness

  • Arius Mumin

    Correct me if I am wrong but I just have this feelings about some of Oilers.

    Eberle is a better passer than shooter but he dangles and shoot a lot.

    Hall is a better shooter than passer but he always try to set up others on 2 on 1 break instead shoot the puck.

    Gagner cannot handle the pass but always stays on point.

  • Word to the Bird

    some of these players have been winners all their lives. this has got to be hell for them to endure. but I do agree some of the posters here need to take a breath and relax a bit. following the oilers and sites like this should be fun.

  • Rdubb

    Even knowing what’s known now, I’m taking Hall at the draft. Talent aside, I think he just has intangibles that Seguin doesn’t, including team captain in his future. Seguin’s had a good season this year, but it’s not as close between the two as some are making it out to be.

    Hall has pretty much carried the Oilers, regardless of linemates, even though he started out the year in unfamiliar territory at center. He’s improved his 200 ft. game and his decision-making.

    I wouldn’t consider a straight up trade Hall for Seguin for a millisecond.