Another big reason why I’ve been away from blogging is because I couldn’t get my head around the Tyler Seguin/Taylor Hall debate.
When the topic came up over a beer with some friends, I had a tough time trying to decide who the Oilers should draft June 25 in Los Angeles.
I’m first to admit this. I’ve flip-flopped like a fish out of water on this topic every week. In one week I thought it should be Hall only because the Oilers are in dire of a sniper who could put fans on the edge of their seats.
Then the next week I think it should be Seguin only because he’s the type of player that makes every player around him better.
Obviously, both players will be stars in the NHL and finally, it’s a discussion that gives fans of the copper and blue some hope.
But, as far as I’m concerned, after doing a lot of thinking, the debate is OFFICIALY over.
THE OIL PATCH SELECTS, FROM THE PLYMOTH WHALERS, TYLER SEGUIN
Seguin is the right player for the Edmonton Oilers for all the right reasons. Sure, he’s probably not leading other pundits’ scouting lists, or the right pick among Oilers fans.
Seguin, however, must be picked based on what the Oilers are looking for long-term.
REASON #1: HE’S EXTREMLY COACHABLE
Seguin had a less than stellar first half of his rookie season last year with the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers — a team that picked him ninth overall in the league’s selection draft.
The rookie was regulated to the team’s fourth line under a coach who preferred to play veterans.
Siegen probably wasn’t happy about the move considering it was the first time he had ever played on the fourth line in his entire hockey career, but he didn’t complain about it.
Imagine if a move like that happened to Dustin Penner, Ales Hemsky, Sheldon Souray and some other Oiler pre-madonnas. Oh wait, that already happened a few times and fans heard all about it. I forgot that it’s an annual event in Edmonton.
But once Mike Vellucci was brought in as the Whaler’s head coach, Seguin was promoted to the team’s second line then the top-line where he quickly scored 16 goals and 43 points in the final 19 games that season.
For a player to emerge so strong that quickly shows that he leaves his ego at home. Fans in Edmonton have been begging for a player like Siegen for a long, long time.
Hall hasn’t really faced that much adversity throughout his hockey career compared to Seguin.
And unlike Hall, Seguin never made Canada’s World Junior team mostly because the squad was already loaded with talented and more experienced centremen. Remember, Seguin was only 17 during tryouts. Hall is older.
Obviously, with his determination, not making the World Juniors would become a distant memory once Seguin plays in the NHL.
REASON #2: HE’S A NATURAL CENTREMAN THE OILERS NEED
There are more than a few reasons why Seguin is drawing comparisons to Steve Yzerman. He’s a natural, right-handed, two-way centreman who has an unbelievable playmaking ability — just like a former Detroit Red Wings captain.
Seguin would also never hesitate to shoot when he sees an opportunity — cough, pay attention Hemsky, cough. The six-foot-one centreman did finish his OHL season tied for first (with Hall) with 106 points (48 goals and 58 assists).
Seguin is probably the type of player Kevin Lowe thought of when he signed Shawn Horcoff to his lucrative, yet ridiculous contract.
Horcoff was paid to be that type of player that could do it all — win faceoffs, score plenty of goals by taking passes from Hemsky, and clamping down defensively when his team needs him.
Obviously, Horcoff’s contract appears to be a mistake and the centre position is something the Oilers have a huge hole in the short term and the long term. And Sam Gagner isn’t quite up to snuff when it comes to his faceoff abilities.
Drafting Hall, for obvious reasons, wouldn’t be the right fit in Edmonton based on what the Oilers need. Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, Linus Omark, and Jordan Eberle are wingers.
Riley Nash, a 21st pick by the Oilers in the 2007 NHL entry draft, has reportedly had it with the organization over being told to play in Cornell this season. If that’s the case, Nash won’t be around and he’s a centreman.
REASON #3: SEGUIN IS A PROVEN LEADER
Speaking of Yzerman, Seguin does have an ability to lead.
During his 19-game offensive surge in his rookie season, Seguin played on the Whalers’ first line with Chris Terry and Matt Caria. When the pair left the squad at the end of the season, critics said Seguin would struggle.
Boy, were they wrong.
Seguin led his team into the playoffs with no first round prospects. He obviously has the ability to make his teammates around him better, as mentioned before.
Hall, on the other hand, had a load of talented weapons on his Windsor Spitfires team, including Cam Fowler.
A player like Seguin is someone the Oilers need and if things go well after two or three seasons, Seguin is an obvious choice as the team’s captain.
By the way, Yzerman was only 21 when he was given the “C.”
AND WHY NOT HALL?
Hall is a terrific player, and obviously he will be a huge star in the NHL. However, Hall is not a great fit for Edmonton.
Drafting Hall would serve only one thing: it would be a public relations Band-Aid. Fans are pissed this season, as they have been since Chris Pronger wanted out of town after the “run” in 2006.
With no solid centreman to complement Horcoff, or visa-versa, the Oilers will still be a pathetic hockey team even after Hall is drafted.
The debate is done, son.