With the NHL season just around the corner, myself and photography editor Antony Ta decided it would be a great concept to write a couple preview articles on the upcoming NHL season. However, they are not any ordinary preview articles: these previews are going to be based around the hypothetical. A twilight zone, if you will, of the NHL.
Today, we will be looking at the Taylor vs. Tyler debate of the 2010 NHL entry draft, and not only seeing what would have changed if the Edmonton Oilers took Tyler Seguin instead of Taylor Hall with the 1st overall pick in that year’s draft, but also doing a 2014/2015 season prediction for both scenarios.
Flashback: June 25th, 2010, “With the 1st overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, the Edmonton Oilers select from the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League, Tyler Seguin”. A little different from what we are used to in Edmonton isn’t it? The Oilers taking Tyler Seguin instead of the crafty, speedy winger from the Windsor Spitfires? Well, in an alternate universe anything could happen. I could also tell you that Alexandre Daigue retired in the spring of 2010 after an illustrious 17-year career in which he captained Ottawa to 2 Stanley Cups while scoring 600 goals and 1,400 points……but for the sake of this article, lets keep some level of sanity ok? GETTING BACK TO WHAT IS IMPORTANT, even though in my opinion Taylor Hall is a better player then Tyler Seguin, (better speed, intangibles, etc.) I do believe that in this alternate universe, the Oilers, Hall, and Seguin would have ended up better off than in their current situation.
First lets look at the Edmonton Oilers:
Yes, the Oilers would have lost skill in Hall, and probably some leadership qualities as well, however, they would have gained a natural center, a position they are desperately in need of now. Say the Oilers took Seguin with that 1st pick in 2010, and very likely the Oilers would have done just as terrible in 2010-2011 and ended up with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2011, this means that instead of having RNH as your #1 center Marc Arcebello or Boyd Gordon as your #2, you have Seguin as your #1 and RNH as your #2…..a hell of a lot better in my humble opinion. This combination would have had an immediate impact on the Oilers making them finish outside of the #1 overall pick in 2012 and allowing them to pick either Griffin Reinhardt or Hampus Lindholm in the 5th overall spot, helping to secure their future defensive core. The fact is that if the Oilers indeed took Seguin in 2010, they would have been allowed to spend other draft picks on other positions, allowing them to have a more rounded team, and alleviating their concerns going into this year of who their #2 center will be. Now whether the Oilers would used these draft picks for good instead of throwing them down the toilet is debatable but hey, who knows what would have happened?
Edmonton Oilers 2014/2015 WITH Tyler Seguin: 42 Wins, 28 Losses, 12 OT Losses = 96 Points, West Wild Card #2
Edmonton Oilers 2014/2015 WITHOUT Tyler Seguin: 30 Wins, 42 Losses, 10 OT Losses = 70 points, 11th Overall in the West and miss the Playoffs.
Now lets talk now about Tyler Seguin in this whole alternate universe:
As with any player, Tyler Seguin would experience his own growing pains joining an atrocious Oilers team in 2010, however he would gain valuable experience learning alongside veteran Centre Shawn Horcoff. Seguin wouldn’t necessarily change the Oilers overnight; however, he would get much more playing time then what he did in his early career in Boston due to a depleted Oilers lineup. Once the Oilers drafted RNH, then things would begin to turn around for Seguin. After being bumped up to 1st Centre, with Horcoff and RNH behind him, Seguin would flourish alongside Jordan Eberle, hitting 70 points in his second season. The career transformation that Seguin experienced this year in Dallas would have came 2-3 years earlier after playing on a depleted Oilers team that would give him the room and the playing time to be able to grow as a player and a leader. Now would Seguin be the player that he is now if not for “paying his dues” for a team like Boston? Who knows? However, if Seguin was allowed the freedom that he was granted in Dallas 2-3 years earlier, imagine him now playing alongside Eberle and Perron? It would be something special, maybe not as special as the combination of Seguin with Jamie Benn in Dallas, but it would still be something incredible.
Tyler Seguin’s 2014/2015 WITHOUT the Edmonton Oilers: 35 Goals, 60 Assists, 95 Points
Tyler Seguin’s 2014/2015 WITH the Edmonton Oilers: 40 Goals, 40 Assists, 80 Points
Now last, but certainly not least, is the biggest man in Edmonton today, Mr. Taylor Hall.
If not drafted by the Edmonton Oilers back in 2010, Taylor Hall would be a very different player today. For starters, unlike Seguin, Hall would still be on the Boston Bruins today and be one of their best players. With Hall playing on the wing, the Bruins would no longer have a build up of centers and “lack” of wingers, inducing the Seguin trade in 2013. Taylor Hall would have had to pay his dues as Seguin did, starting on the 4th line and certainly not starting every game. But as the seasons progressed, he would become a better and better player for not only having the time to develop, but also developing along other young stars Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand, Hall would develop into a strong leader who, like on the Oilers, also made his Boston teammates better. After winning his first Stanley Cup in 2011, Hall would begin to flourish even more, playing along side David Krejci and Milan Lucic to form one of the most dangerous lines in hockey. Whether the Bruins with Hall could have wrestled the cup in 2013 away from the Blackhawks, remaisn a mystery. However, I find it hard to believe that a team with the depth and talent like Boston would not win another cup either previously, or in the future, with a talent like Hall.
Taylor Hall’s 2014/2015 WITH the Boston Bruins: 50 Goals, 55 Assists = 110 points
Taylor Hall’s 2014/2015 WITHOUT the Boston Bruins: 37 Goals, 45 Assists = 82 Points
There you have it folks! A brief surreal look into the Taylor v. Tyler debate and how the key stakeholders in such a change of landscape would look going into this year’s NHL season!
Cover Photo courtesy of Wanderer Photographer Brad Lam