The Edmonton Oilers have made the right pick in selecting Taylor Hall first overall in the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft. Granted, the 18-year old left winger has just been drafted, has yet to play in the NHL and yet to prove himself against the best players in the world. On Draft Day 2010, however, he is the best player available, even if just a hair better than second-overall pick Tyler Seguin now of the Boston Bruins.
The Hall “brand” has profited from plenty of promotion these past three hockey seasons, with good reason. Hall plays for the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League. He won back-to-back Memorial Cup titles and was the first-ever back-to-back winner of the Stafford Smythe Trophy, awarded to the junior championship’s most valuable player.
This past year, both Hall and Seguin were tabbed as the potential first-overall selections. The Oilers waited until Draft Night to make their selection. Said Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini on TSN, “we felt like with Taylor, if you look at his resume of playing with the best team and being the best player, back-to-back Memorial Cup MVPs, prominent in the World Junior tournament, prominent on his own team for his entire junior career. I haven’t met a more competitive player than this young man.”
Hall should make an immediate jump to the NHL to join the up-and-coming Edmonton Oilers. When he does, he will be one of the most popular players on a very young team. Other rookie teammates could be Jordan Eberle (last year’s Canadian Junior Player of the Year) and Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson (drafted 10th overall in 2009).
Should Hall play in early October, card collectors can expect to start finding his rookie cards in mid November. Hall will be the hot rookie to chase for the first part of the new hockey card season. Jersey collectors can probably start buying new authentic gigs in September when we know which number Hall will choose. As for game-used gear, his Oilers jerseys will be available via the MeiGray Group.
For Oilers fans, Hall represents a better future for a team that has missed the playoffs four-straight years since coming within a game of winning the 2006 Stanley Cup. The Oilers may not return to the Cup final just yet, but with Hall and the young company they have a good chance of returning to the playoffs.