As each passing game and season goes by, it’s another step in Taylor Hall‘s emergence as the leader of the Edmonton Oilers. Hall hates to lose and wants to win so badly, you can see in the injuries piling up and the grimaces that go across his face after each grueling game.
As questions about his durability start to arise, one thing is for certain, the Oilers need him to be the quick-shooting, fearless speed demon that he is. Talk of moving him to the center position is like taking a Ferrari and turning it into a four-door sedan. Sure the sedan will get stuff done, but the Ferrari keeps you ahead of the curve.
On the other hand, the Ferrari could also end in a pileup. It’s all things the Oilers’ management will have to weigh. Hall just finished his second season as a pro, so there are hopefully, a lot of years left in him. As experience sets in, hopefully the train wrecks become less frequent because his offensive attacking skills are of the elite variety and for the Oilers to take the next step, they need Hall to be at his best.
On the other hand, shoulder injuries for a hockey player aren’t to be messed with, so it will be a situation that will need to be monitored closely. As of right now, Hall needs to continue to attack with a blend of savvy and speed. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got his turn to wear an “A” at some points during the season.
If I Could Grant One Wish – Health: Hall’s high-flying ability makes him easy prey for the big hitters. Experience and awareness are the things that are going to help him. If those fail him, a move to center could be imminent if they feel his shoulders take too much abuse from the end boards. The good news is Hall is back on ice testing and recovering from his recent shoulder surgery. It sounds like he could be close to returning before the season starts, if there is one.
Prediction for 2013 – Will lead Oilers in goals: A lot of the offense will revolve around Hall, even with the addition of Nail Yakupov. Hall will get his looks and has a penchant for creating his own shot. Hall is not shy about using his shot. If the Oilers take advantage of a super-line of Hall-Nugent-Hopkins-Yakupov like I expect them to, I’ll expect a lot of shots and a lot of goals from him this season.