They’ve been making Connor McDavid highlight videos on YouTube since 2011-12, so he must be the real thing. As much value as YouTube scouting has (I keed), It’s always good to get confirmation on these things, and for Oilers fans a word or two from Taylor Hall is just the ticket.
- TAYLOR HALL:“He’s got a lot of foot speed. He seems to glide faster than most guys skate at full speed.” Source
Music! If you’re an Edmonton Oilers fan, that kind of quote has to make you smile. Hall has five years in the NHL, he knows what big league speed looks like. McDavid is a fast train and that’s a big damn deal.
“He’s got tremendous foot speed, he can see the ice- I think he’s got the whole package” #Oilers LW Taylor Hall on Connor McDavid
— Sportsnet590 The FAN (@FAN590) August 18, 2015
The next question becomes ‘how to use this speed demon to greatest impact?’ and I have argued pairs. Pairs, as in Hall—McDavid and Pouliot—Nuge, with Jordan Eberle sliding up and down the lineup as required. Initially, I think putting Eberle on the RNH line makes the most sense. Why?
If you take last year’s top line (Nuge with Pouliot and Eberle) it probably drives the opposition’s best players to that group. In the opening game of the season (as a for instance), you’d see the Alex Pietrangelo—Jay Bouwmeester pairing instead of Kevin Shattenkirk—Carl Gunnarsson. It IS a big deal for the rookie and coach Todd McLellan is going to be looking for the best matchup available.
I think Hall makes the most sense for two reasons: Speed (someone has to keep up with McDavid) and offensive ability. Hall isn’t going to be a great help without the puck (I argued for a Justin Williams type but it may end up being Teddy Purcell or Lauri Korpikoski or Nail Yakupov) but he can damn sure fly and create and score goals.
At some point it has to be about putting a player in a position to succeed and if those two (Hall—McDavid) can make it go, I’d sure as hell like to see what they can do. If it doesn’t work, there are lots of options. That’s my take. What’s yours?