On the one hand, it’s refreshing to hear someone than a defenseman, a goalie or everyone’s favorite No. 1 pick-turned-Russian-scapegoat get criticized for the disaster that are the Edmonton Oilers.
On the other hand, in all the scenarios and diagnoses and panaceas for the Oilers, where exactly would trading Taylor Hall rank on the “cutting off one’s nose to spite their face” scale?
Darren Dreger offered this informed speculation on TSN Radio in Toronto on Monday, hours after Edmonton Oilers coach Dallas Eakins was relieved of his duties. In speaking about the Oilers’ culture, he said:
“It’s not one player. It’s the collection of players that make up the sagging work ethic and lack of culture. But if you had to put a face on it, or a name to it, that name would be Taylor Hall.
“Taylor Hall, at least from a culture standpoint, in the room not on the ice, hasn’t been what they hoped he would be. So when [GM Craig] MacTavish looks into his crystal ball and sees what’s coming his way through trades, he’s gotta be looking at the trade deadline and then beyond that looking at the draft floor.
“Because if you’re moving a piece like Taylor Hall, and I believe Taylor Hall will be in play, then the rate of return is always going to be the best in the summer.
“I think it speaks from a willingness to adapt. I’m choosing my words carefully in saying that. I’m not in the room, so we gather information from the sources that we have, and my sense is that Taylor Hall has a pretty specific vision on how he sees he needs to play and maybe how he thinks the team should play, and he really isn’t open to change, and that’s a problem.
“MacTavish will have to see first hand that what I said is true. If you’re moving out a franchise player like Taylor Hall, you have to be damn certain if that’s the right move for the organization.”
Now, my first inkling here was that Eakins was Dreger’s source for Hall’s work ethic, and he still might be when it comes to the “un-coachable” stuff.
But he’s banged the Taylor Hall Trade drum before, about a week ago when MacTavish talked about changes for the organization. David Staples believes Dreger is “tight” with the organization, for what it’s worth.
So Taylor Hall is unofficially Ovechkin West, apparently: a left wing (well, mostly for Ovie) that likes to do what he does and kills coaches like most of us kill house flies.
Or maybe he’s a young star who’s will has been crushed by the managerial and executive ineptitude that’s led to Hall never having played a single NHL playoff game since he was drafted.
And, assuming the later is true … perhaps he wants out? (Speculation station here.)
One assumed that Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were the team’s untouchables, but the bottom line is that both would bring the best return to a team full of holes. But again: Are you creating a greater problem by dealing away an elite scoring winger like Hall?
How incredible if Taylor and Tyler are both traded by the teams that drafted them.
How even more incredible if Taylor ends up where Tyler used to play. Krejci, Malcom Subban and McQuaid should do it, right ...