LOS ANGELES -- The Edmonton Oilers didn't exactly make things comfortable for Taylor Hall.
The No. 1 pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft said he was in the dark on being taken by the Oilers until he heard the words Windsor Spitfires. "I was so shocked. I was shaking in my seat. I got up to the podium, or whatever it is, and I was shaking so much I couldn't even put my jersey on," said Hall.
That was by design, said Oilers team president Kevin Lowe. He said the identity of the top pick was kept from wives, children and (again, according to Lowe) the team's ownership for most of the buildup to the Draft.
Did the team milk the drama of the selection? "Milk it? We like the drama, and tried to keep it as quiet as we could. It should be exciting for the kids," he said, adding that either selection wouldn't have been a shock. "If we had announced Tyler Seguin, I think there'd be a lot of people not quite surprised in the hockey world."
Then again, Lowe called Hall a "slam dunk."
Lowe said he believed the Boston Bruins' No. 2 pick wasn't really in play, despite reports the Oilers had targeted it. "Peter Chiarelli made it clear to everyone. You're always going to listen," he said, adding that both the first two picks were fairly immobile. "To read between the lines, it'd have to be something special."
What's been interesting in the Hall vs. Seguin debate lately has been the way their natural positions on the ice have slowly become immaterial, something both players spoke about tonight.
Here's Seguin on what position he'd prefer to play for the Bruins:
No, I've always been a natural centerman my whole life. I've always played center. But when I came into my OHL career as a rookie I had to adjust to wing because I was playing with better players, and I was more of a play maker that year.
This past year the better players ended up leaving the team, they were older, so I got moved to center, and turned out to be more of a goal scorer.
I'm a pretty diverse player, and I want to step into a team or organization like the Bruins and play any role.
As for Taylor Hall, Lowe reminded fans that he played center earlier in his career before moving to left wing. And a star winger becoming a star center has precedence in Edmonton, according to Lowe.
"It's an option. If you think back to Mess, he started as a wing and then moved to center, because he needed the puck more, he was bigger and stronger," he said.
For the record, that's not a comparison of Hall to Messier. We think.