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Taylor Hall may start season at center

Sep 7, 2013, 12:08 PM EDT

Taylor Hall Getty Images

Edmonton’s Taylor Hall may have been one of the league’s best left wings last season, but he may be starting this season out at center.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will miss most of October rehabbing his surgically repaired shoulder and the team will try out Hall and Sam Gagner as their top two centers.

Hall playing center isn’t a totally new thing. He’s done it in a pinch the last two seasons and has even had some success at winning faceoffs. Of course, it’s not the ideal place for him as he was one of the top point producers on the left wing last year with 50 points in 45 games. Taking a player like that out of their best position isn’t optimal.

The key part for Edmonton out of this, however, is that Nugent-Hopkins comes back at 100-percent. Rushing him back to action won’t do him or his shoulder any favors.

  1. icelovinbrotha215 - Sep 7, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    Hmm. Putting him @ C will take away from his biggest asset: his speed. Hopefully, for EDM, this won’t be a long-term assignment.

    • jernster21 - Sep 7, 2013 at 1:47 PM

      I’m not sure I agree entirely. Duchene has tried to move to the wing in the past (one of many poor Sacco decisions) and he was awful as a wing. Moving him to wing limits his area of space to work with whereas playing center gives him the entire sheet of ice to work with, thus utilizing his biggest asset: his speed. I guess it comes down to mindset for each players “natural” position – maybe Hall is better as a winger as opposed to center, whereas it’s the opposite for others.

      • icelovinbrotha215 - Sep 7, 2013 at 2:26 PM

        And also as a center, you expend more energy playing the defensive side of the puck. Given that Hall had success at the wing last year, I’d say he should stay there.

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