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Oilers’ Hall primed to return to left wing

Oct 6, 2013, 5:52 PM EDT

taylorhallgetty Getty Images

Taylor Hall was back at left wing during the Edmonton Oilers’ Sunday practice, signifying the end of his run at center, according to the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson and the Edmonton Sun’s Derek Van Diest.

Hall, 21, played the first two games of this new season in the middle. The results were mixed:

  • He had an assist but no goals in those two contests. He had four shots on goal, which is a little off his usual three-per-game clip.
  • Plus/minus isn’t the fairest stat, but many NHL teams probably continue to judge players by it, and Hall’s -5 rating probably didn’t impress.
  • Still, he was actually pretty effective in the faceoff circle. He went 19-15 in those two games, good for a 55.9 percent success rate, second only on the Oilers to Boyd Gordon (24-18 for 57.1 percent).

The Oilers should be pleased that Hall was willing to leave his comfort zone for his team’s benefit, yet sometimes it’s best just to stick with what works. While the team hasn’t gotten it done overall, few would blame Hall, who tends to bull his way all over the ice at the wing.

He skated with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle on Sunday, so it sounds like the team’s formidable top line might be back in order.

  1. joey4id - Oct 6, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    Yeah! He looked out of sorts last night against the Canucks. Actually, the whole team looked out of sorts. Little bit of spark for a very short time. Hopefully the return of RNH will help the team get on track, though the problem is more with the play in their d zone and they lost a lot of one on one battles. They certainly have a better team than they showed last night. Perhaps they’re still adjusting to Eakins’ system.

  2. davebabychreturns - Oct 7, 2013 at 8:33 AM

    Not to read too much into the stats, but those specific ones O’Brien quoted really are Taylor Hall in a nutshell.

    Give him a pure one on one battle that you can win with skill, quickness and strength – like faceoffs – and he’ll take to it pretty much immediately and show remarkable aptitude.

    Force him to rely on his vision, smarts and most importantly on his other teammates (like making him play center, probably the position that requires the most versatility and where vision and hockey IQ are most advantageous) and he will struggle to adapt.

    Hall is a real player in this league, one of the best at his position for sure but unless he gets his head on straight he’s going to have a hard time living up to the hype he generated in juniors. Of course I’m sure the Oilers will be totally pleased if he never does that and just learns to stop driving through dangerous areas with his head down.

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