Taylor vs Tyler – 4 Years On

Leading up to the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, one question dominated discussion – Taylor or Tyler?

Rugged winger Taylor Hall had 40 goals and 106 points in 57 games for the Windsor Spitfires, while Tyler Seguin potted 48 goals and 106 points in 63 games for Plymouth.

Ultimately Hall’s contribution during the post season tipped him ahead; recording 5 goals and 9 points in 4 games as the Ontario outfit won the Memorial Cup – demolishing Brandon 9-1 in the final.

Now entering their fifth season in the NHL, the careers of Taylor and Tyler have taken very different paths.

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With Edmonton stumbling out of the blocks again this year, the clubs lack of depth at centre has come in to sharp focus – leading Steve Dangle to raise the inevitable question on his podcast – should Edmonton have taken Seguin instead?

The question, as Dangle’s co-host Adam Wylde pointed out, is not as simple as that.

Hall has 96 goals and 231 points in 252 games for the Oilers – and maybe the only player to (thus far at least) avoid the black hole for talent the Oilers seem to have become.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the 1st overall pick in 2011, has an ongoing battle with the trainers table – impacting on both his production and his ability to become the team’s first line centre.

Jordan Eberle divides critics, with his obvious puck skills tempered by question marks over his attitude, while Nail Yakupov’s fall from grace has been well documented.

With Sam Gagner shipped out over the summer, 18-year old Leon Draisaitl is the latest first round pick to be thrust in to the line up as the Oilers attempt to plug holes.

Despite continually being given the opportunity to add these blue chip prospects, Edmonton now finds itself in a never ending spiral of defeat.

The clubs management tries to fill gaps in the line up, but harsh winters and a poor record the previous year make free agents reluctant to join while NTCs present numerous road blocks when it comes to making trades.

The end result is that the line up remains fragile and the club endures another losing season, and thus the cycle starts again.

Rinse and repeat ad nauseam.

Perhaps the worst part of this cycle of despair is that the clubs three straight first overall picks are now being raised in a losing environment – leaving Edmonton’s core in the horrible situation that they simply don’t seem to know how to win any more.

Now they risk exposing Draisaitl to the same mess because things with Sam Gagner went south – leaving a hole down the middle and denting a top 6 that was once thought to be the clubs greatest (only?) asset.

Like other before him, the young German is in a no wins situation (no pun intended).

Edmonton have somehow managed to spare 2013 7th overall pick Darnell Nurse from the disaster zone that is their blue line; but with the sheer magnitude of the clubs failings over the past few years it is hard to imagine drafting Seguin would have led the club to any greater success.

Seguin is one of the most dynamic players in the game today; but suggesting he would have somehow have pulled this franchise out of the basement where Hall hasn’t is folly.

The Brampton native ‘lucked out’ in a sense, being drafted by Boston after Toronto dealt the Bruins their 1st round pick and then preceded to finish bottom of the East.

As a result, Seguin walked straight in to a contender and was able to team up with stars like Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara as the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in his rookie year.

On ice success did not prevent friction off it however; and his high profile split from the Bruins is likely more significant in this debate.

Since moving to Dallas, Seguin has excelled – but in Boston he was considered to ‘party’ a little too hard.

If that was the case, what would an 18 year old Seguin have made of Edmonton in the autumn of 2010? A dumpster fire of a team, and as the 1st overall pick he’d have a star from the off – hardly the right environment for the mercurial young Seguin to really excel in.

Along side Jamie Benn, Seguin has become a Star and was a legitimate Hart Trophy candidate last season. But to suggest the same Seguin we see now would have emerged in Edmonton is a stretch by any ones imagination.

Dangle implied that with Seguin on board, Edmonton could have selected Gabriel Landeskog in 2011, instead of Nugent-Hopkins. But that assumes everything else remains equal, that Edmonton were still awful, as were Colorado and so forth.

And if Edmonton were still awful in this scenario, again we come back to the same old questions that surround good prospects being thrown in at the deep end with bad teams.

Even if the idea of Hall on the Bruins is somewhat delicious (with his ‘go, go, go’ style certainly suited to Boston); the real issue for the Oilers is not whether they were right to choose Taylor over Tyler, it is that Edmonton are so deeply in the mire that the second coming of Wayne Gretzky could not help them right now.

And perhaps that is the hardest part of the situation to swallow. Like Hall, Sequin will likely eclipse the 100 goal and 250 point milestones this year, but unlike the Edmonton winger, he is now on a team on the up that may one day allow him to compete for a Stanley Cup again despite the ‘bumpy’ start to his NHL career.

Hall on the other hand is signed through to 2020, and the outlook is somewhat less rosy. Edmonton coach Dallas Eakins described him as an ‘amazing force’ after he helped the team to their first win of the season last night, but there is a legitimate concerns over the teams direction and the rosters ability to turn things around.

Hall has never been anything other than a model pro, and is perhaps the only bright spot on a faltering team. That he is yet to grace the post season is a crying shame – that he might never get to do it with the Oilers is a tragedy.

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About Rob

Software engineer by day, Elite League Media man by night, Rob also blogs about cricket for One Stump Short, hockey for In Goal Magazine and video games for Outpost Delta as well as hosting the One Stump Short Podcast.

Posted on October 21, 2014, in Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers, Hockey, NHL and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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