The NHL and European’s highest leagues may be on hold for two weeks, but the rest of the hockey world continues to turn during the Olympic Break. In the shadow of the world’s biggest winter sport showcase, who is jumping up the mock draft chart with standings frozen in place?
1. Edmonton Oilers- LW/C Taylor Hall (Windsor OHL)
2009-10: 50 GP, 34-54-88, 46 PIM
The season from hell officially became, well, the season from hell for the Edmonton Oilers following Nikolai Khabibulan arrest for a DUI in Arizona. Despite providing great amusement for an otherwise dejected fan base- see: reKhabbing- even gaining a potential superstar by way of the of the Draft is almost not worth it. But, speaking as an Oilers fan, we’ll take it. Please?
Taylor Hall may no longer lead the OHL in goals, assists OR points, and performances like Tyler Seguin’s from Friday night will do nothing to make the debate any clearer (see: 3-1-4 vs. 0-3-3 for Hall the day before) but Hall continues to lead both the class and Edmonton’s wish list based on two things: a higher battle level in traffic and along the boards, and a Jekyll-and-Hyde nasty side that has had some comparing him to Mark Messier.
Hall’s emergence physically is sort of like Steve Stamkos’ show for the scouts at the 2008 Top Prospects Game where he dropped the gloves. Both are calculated, sure, and don’t represent either player’s game night in and night out, but it’s just another category Hall and Seguin will be measured in from now until June.
There’s also a growing sense among the Oilers fanbase that Hall just has that charisma and starpower that Seguin seems to lack. This means nothing in the grand scheme of things, but think of any big event- Mem Cup, WJC, Top Prospects Game- and Hall has been a presence both off and on the ice.
While this means nothing in the scheme of things, it’s a draw for a town that lacks a truly marketable star. A certain Cup-winning goalie was supposed to add that kind of name recognition but his face is now more memorable for a mug shot than any poster or advertisement in Edmonton… but we digress.
2. Boston Bruins (via Toronto)- C Tyler Seguin (Plymouth OHL)
2009-10: 53 GP, 42-52-94, 52 PIM
Defense is an organizational priority for the Bruins, both now and at the Draft. If that wasn’t obvious prior to the Olympic Break, Darren Dreger’s reports that Boston has put a high bounty on acquiring immediate help for a disorganized and shallow blueline make it so now.
Long-term, the Bs may be in even more trouble. Colorado cast-off Johnny Boychuk has fo