Monday Mailbag – Are you worried about Taylor Hall?

Mailbag 3

Everyone quiet down and take your seats, it’s time to learn something! As always, I’ve taken another five of your questions and sent them off to the Nation writers so that they may bestow their wisdoms upon you. If you have a question that needs answers, you can email me at [email protected] or hit me up on Twitter and I’ll get you in as soon as I can. Without further adieu, I present another edition of the Mailbag. Enjoy.

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1) Brad asks – What do you make of Taylor Hall’s decline in production over the last half of the season? He was on fire to start the year but has noticeably cooled in the last couple months. Is this something to worry about or just a slumping player?

Lowetide:

I think injuries to others allowed other teams to key on Hall, and his center (Leon Draisaitl) flagged/had injury issues. Hall is just about the last player I would worry about — he is bona fide.

Jonathan Willis:

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The misfiring power play is one thing that has really hurt Hall. He had eight points through the season’s first three months on the man advantage; he’s had just two since January 1. Draisaitl’s decline has hurt him at even-strength; since January 1 Hall’s on-ice goal numbers increased significantly and his shot metrics improved modestly when apart from Draisaitl; Draisaitl’s numbers fell. I’m writing this on Thursday so I may be contradicted by events before this runs but it’s probably time to start thinking about reuniting Hall with Nugent-Hopkins and either bumping Draisaitl to wing or to a lesser role.

Jason Gregor:

Players have slumps. If he had only had one decent year I might be concerned, but he’s been a productive player for most of his career. I see it as a short slump.

Jeanshorts:

Nothing to see here. Sidney Crosby got off to an incredibly slow start this year, which led to 1001 “IS CROSBY FINISHED?” articles, which, as we’ve seen now, were completely unfounded. This is hockey. Guys go through peaks and valleys all the time. Leon Draisaitl scored a billion points in his first 30 games and then came back down to earth, but no one really seems to be too worried about him. Hall is on pace for 65 points right now, which will easily land him in the top 25 of the ENTIRE NHL in scoring. As of right now he’s got the same amount of points as Malkin, and is in the ballpark of guys like Tarasenko, Kopitar and Ovechkin. He’s fine.

Robin Brownlee:

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I don’t make much of it. Like Hall, Leon Draisaitl started the season very well and has slowed. It happens. Seasons ebb and flow, especially on teams with big swings in performance like the Oilers. Hall was at .79 PPG going into Friday’s game against the Canucks, That’s up from last year and down from his two previous seasons.

Matt Henderson:

Well the power play going in the tank, Nuge’s injury, Draisaitl and Hall’s slump all sort of hit at the same time. You sort of wonder how interconnected all the events were. All scorers are streaky, but Hall really did go into a funk. I’m not worried about it long term. If we look at his body of work over the last several years we see Hall is an elite scorer. He will bounce back.

Jason Strudwick:

I think we are seeing a player that is frustrated with losing. He is human and it gets to you. That being said, he is one of the leaders of this group and will need to be one of the catalysts to turn this around.

Baggedmilk:

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Taylor Hall has consistently been one of the best left wingers in the entire NHL. Worrying about him is the last thing you need to do. Worry about the possibility of Chiarelli trading Nuge. That’s terrifying. 

2) Blake asks – Why is it that we don’t see more offer sheets in the NHL? Is it because GMs don’t want to upset their peers, or that the value may not be there?

Lowetide:

I suspect it is as you say—a gentleman’s agreement, there because no GM wants to worry about the possibility of having an unexpected poison pill offer sheet delivered. The Shea Weber OS from the Philadelphia Flyers was diabolical, as an example. 

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Jonathan Willis:

I think the biggest reason is just that an offer sheet is almost by definition an overpayment. If the contract were reasonable, the other team would just match (save in rare cases where the club is so close to the cap that matching is impossible). So the player in question has to do so much for your franchise that it’s worth both the draft pick compensation and packing around a high contract.

Jason Gregor:

You would have to grossly overpay most players for it to work. I see it more cap related.

Jeanshorts:

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I think it’s a combination of both; I have to think most GMs don’t want to rock the boat too badly, in fear of retaliation. And at the same time I think if you were going to offer sheet someone it would be a player with a lot of value, so you’re looking at giving up a decent haul of draft picks. As we’ve seen with the trade deadline and the draft most GMs aren’t super into gambling, as I assume they very much enjoy their jobs, so the fear of striking out big time probably scares most GMs off.

Robin Brownlee:

You have to overpay on the contract to put it out of reach of the team that has the player and you have to give up prime draft choices, especially if the player you are trying to acquire makes a lot of money. It’s not worth it except for a can’t-miss player and those players are most often re-signed by their teams before offer sheets come into play.

Matt Henderson:

I think there might be a little bit of a cultural component, so to speak, in that GMs just don’t offer sheet players often. So because it’s already abnormal already it will stay that way until a few people shake things up. Teams also value picks more than NHL players sometimes and that can often be the wrong outlook, IMO. But we’ve seen teams like the Bruins act strangely in fear of offer sheets, so maybe a new era is around the corner.

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Jason Strudwick:

Very pricey and I think it puts a target on your teams back.

Baggedmilk:

I honestly wish that there were more offer sheets. I get why there isn’t, though. Why would you want to put that target on your back? Besides, just imagine what would have happened if the Vanek offer sheet went through. No Taylor Hall. 

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3) Jesse asks – With the time at Rexall Place winding down I’m wondering what is your most memorable performance from that building. For me I remember watching Gretzky score 50 goals in 39 games with my father and it was one of my favourite childhood memories.

Lowetide:

I think we had this question recently, so I will pick another one from my memories. I saw Paul Coffey dismantle the Chicago Blackhawks one night, it was a thing of beauty. My seats were high, high, high up, and from there I could see him weave a masterpiece. He was a very special player.

Jonathan Willis:

Attending my first NHL game. And meeting Georges Laraque afterward.

Jason Gregor:

Jason Strudwick scoring two goals in one game. One was disallowed, but he still scored twice and had a great celebration.

Jeanshorts:

Unfortunately I wasn’t there to see it in person, but I will NEVER forget Gagner’s eight point night. First off, I really doubt we will ever see a performance like that again (If anyone can do it, it’ll be Connor). I was working night shift on a TV show (shoutout to Ice Pilots) so I had the luxury of being able to get away with watching Oiler games after pretty much everyone else had left the office most nights. One of our IT guys was there that night setting up some network something or other, and he was a Flames fan, but one of those Flames fans that had a healthy respect for the Oilers. He would pop his head into my office whenever he heard me cheering to get an update. After Gagner scored his FIFTH point he ended up just stopping what he was doing entirely and sat down to watch the game with me. Twitter literally (not literally) exploded that night and I got sent to Twitter jail for Tweeting TOO MUCH. It was WELL WORTH IT, let me tell you. That was one of the craziest games I’ve ever seen, and probably will ever see, and I certainly will never forget it.

Robin Brownlee:

This has been asked before and the answer remains the same — too many to list. One of many memorable moments for me was when Georges Laraque had a hat-trick. Nobody ever expected that out of him. Was a lot of fun. Also, the electricity in the building when the Oilers beat Carolina 4-0 to force Game 7 in 2006.

Matt Henderson:

Seen live or seen on TV? I have Arts degrees, I can’t afford season tickets let alone playoff tickets. Live, I was there for Scrivens’ hojillion save shutout. He had three standing ovations. That was cool. On TV, Gagner’s eight point night was incredible. Shout out to Travis Dakin who will be forever linked to that game in my mind.

Jason Strudwick:

I am excited about the new rink but can’t help feeling that a little bit of hockey history is dying. My top memory is playing my first NHL game in Rexall. I was with the Islanders and I don’t think I slept that whole night before the game I was so jacked!

Baggedmilk:

I was at the game when Smytty got his teeth knocked out only to come back a few minutes later and set Horcoff up for the winner. That’s balls, man. I was also at game six when the Oilers knocked out the Detroit Red Wings, which also happened to be Steve Yzerman’s last ever game. I still have my ticket from that one. 

4) Kimberly asks – With an expansion draft on the horizon my question for the panel is who would everyone put on the protected list. To keep things simple lets say that you can only protect one line of players (three forwards, two defense, one goaltender).

Lowetide:

Cam Talbot, Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse, Connor McDavid, Taylor Hall, Leon Draisaitl. Kimberly, this is the toughest question I have ever had, and I had to exclude my favorite player. Great question!

Jonathan Willis:

I’ve already gone into this in some depth.

Jason Gregor:

Hall, McDavid, Draisaitl, Klefbom, Nurse and Talbot.

Jeanshorts:

Connor, Hall and Draisaitl for my forwards, Klefbom and Nurse for my D and Talbot in net. With that being said, if ANY NHL GM tries to poach Nuge I will be leaving a horse head in their bed.

Robin Brownlee:

Keeping things simple doesn’t follow the rules we’ve been told to expect for the expansion draft — protecting seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender or eight skaters and one goaltender. Under your scenario, I protect Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Oscar Klefbom, Brandon Davidson and Cam Talbot.

Matt Henderson:

I’d protect Hall, McDavid, Draisaitl, Klefbom, Nurse, Talbot. Not protecting Nuge would not ever happen in a real expansion draft, but I’m using your criteria. It gave me heart palpitations.

Jason Strudwick:

I can draw you up a list but I would just throw it into the dumpster if I were you. This team will look different after the summer. Ask me then.

Baggedmilk:

Since games played affect who is expansion draft eligible, and McDavid and Nurse are already exempt I’m going to go with Hall-Nuge-Eberle up front, Klefbom-Davidson on the back end, and Talbot in net. 

5) Oil fan in Van asks – If we assume that the newest NHL expansion team will land in Las Vegas what would you call the franchise? What would the logo look like?

Lowetide:

Las Vegas Posse. Awesome name.

Jonathan Willis:

It sounds like the team’s most probable name is the Black Knights, which is decent if unspectacular, and some of the fan-created concept art is pretty decent.

Jason Gregor:

I’d call them the Vegas Whalers (I would purchase the rights to the Hartford Whale Tail Logo).

Jeanshorts:

I would call them the Las Vegas Regrets, and the logo would be a picture of me with my head in my hands at McCarran airport wearing the same clothes I had worn for the past three days, ready to die from drinking too much alcohol. I THINK THOSE JERSEYS WOULD SELL!

Robin Brownlee:

The obvious names seem like lame cliches — Aces, Gamblers etc. Take your pick.

Matt Henderson:

The Las Vegas Whales. Logo: Changes monthly to the picture of the highest roller willing to pay for the honour. 

Jason Strudwick:

Las Vegas enjoy the team for now because it won’t last.

Baggedmilk:

The Las Vegas Dead Bodies in the Desert. I think it would be cool if they got back to the roots of Las Vegas. 


  • Spydyr

    Not that I want Nuge traded, I don’t unless the return is too good to pass up.

    Worry about the possibility of going into next season with the same core. That’s terrifying.

  • Lofty

    This mailbag is proof that the last 9 seasons have been more of the same and there’s not much more to say about the organization that hasn’t already been said.

    The writers and fans are officially beating a dead horse.

    It’s going to be a long summer at Nation HQ.

    Here’s to hoping for a more interesting 16/17 season.

  • 5 Cups

    March 12, 2006
    Oilers down 3-1 in the game and at risk of going down 3-1 in the series. The Oilers came back to win that game 6-3 and eventually win the series.

    The crowd was so crazy I could not hear the person directly next to me.

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    Favorite memory; Standing on the Stairs at Northlands and watching the Oilers with their 4th Stanley. I thought about my dad who was a huge Oilers Fan and how he would of loved to be there. He had passed from a car wreck at work only a few months before. I just felt so honored to see my team win a Stanley. I still get shivers thinking about seeing the cup won for the first and only time live. Then Gretzky gets the MVP and pulls the team together on the ice for Pictures. Later that summer when he was traded to LA I was working at a Summer camp in Ontario and I cried as I knew we had lost half the team. I was glad my dad thought #99 was an Oiler forever.

  • paul wodehouse

    “Keeping things simple doesn’t follow the rules we’ve been told to expect for the expansion draft — protecting seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender or eight skaters and one goaltender. Under your scenario, I protect Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Oscar Klefbom, Brandon Davidson and Cam Talbot.”

    Trick answer right Robin?

    • ubermiguel

      I’m sure that Lowetide was referring to the short lived Las Vegas CFL franchise. But 22 years later why did I never realize we could have called the Posse that “different word”?!

  • Heschultzhescores

    It’s time the fans got some union representation…after all, how is such a integral part of the team left out of the contract? Perhaps a non-performance clause in our ticket contract to provide a percentage based reimbursement to the fans who clearly haven’t been given their money’s worth for years. Not even Johnny Cochran could win this case for the owners.

  • OILFANMEXICO

    Vegas Jokers. Have a Logo with Joker card(Evil Joker) holding a hockey stick lol (Wanted spades using ace card,but don’t have anyone to hold a stick).

  • Ol_OneNut

    Hey baggedmilk, that verdad character went nuts in the comment sections last nite. Can you maybe put an end to his nonsense?
    You’d have a lot of grateful readers.

    • Oiler Al

      Not going to happen. Web sites depend on hits/visits to the site.Thats why you have the two bottons [ Cheers/Trash] every time you punch one of these that counts as a visit.

      As long as the commentary is within reason, guys like Verdad are music to their ears.

      That’s not a knock on ON, its just the nature of the business.

      I happen to agree with you on Verdad, having to scrool past that junk. Now when I see his name my eyes don’t even glance at his remarks.

  • Wax Man Riley

    Best memory of Rexall….

    Game 3 of the 1997 playoffs against Dallas.

    Edmonton scores 3 goals in the last 3 minutes to tie the game, then win in overtime.

    I didn’t miss a playoff game at Rexall until the Oilers did after that game.

  • Ed in Edmonton 1

    WRT Hall, a glass half empty guy would be worried. Over the last 2 years he has a good stretch of about 40 games. No wold cup tourney for Hallsy.

    Back in the WHA days the Oil were scheduled to play the San Diego Mariners just after the rodeo left town. My brother and I got tickets. When we enter the arena we see that there are front end loaders and tractors still moving dirt off what should have been the ice surface. The start of the games was delayed about an hour and a half and when they got going the surface still a mess. After about 10 minutes the players refused to play any more and that was that. Ya gotta love the WHA.