He has just one point in the first seven games of his career.
All while logging the most minutes per game of any left winger on the Edmonton Oilers.
The early season struggles in the young professional career of 2010 first overall pick Taylor Hall has the hockey blogging community rapidly calling for a demotion of the 18-year-old to the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires.
Citing everything from cap commitments to unrestricted free agency rules to the simple fact that Hall has yet to grasp the game at the NHL level, it seems like the new ‘Fall for Hall’ has pundits from the blogosphere ready to banish No. 4 to another season of Major Junior hockey.
What does a player with two Memorial Cup MVP trophies to go alongside two Memorial Cup championships, alongside literally a slew of accolades that would take a compass to sort through, have left to accomplish in Major Junior?
The answer: Not a lick. The kid already has 373 total points in 237 career games in Spitfires silks.
The argument is Hall needs more time to develop. Where is his development best served, playing against players that are challenging him, or playing against players he’s spent riding roughshod over the last three years?
In fact, Hall would benefit greater from watching all 82 games from the press box than to be obliterating the CHL for a third consecutive season. Hall struggling in the NHL, and it’s the first time in his career he’s struggled, is more educational than any experience he could have in the CHL.
There is a growing frustration in Hall’s production, or lack-there-of, among Oiler fans. Fellow Edmonton rookies Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi have five and four points respectively through their first seven games of the season. They’ve been producing points, Hall hasn’t.
The kicker is Hall hasn’t played particularly bad.
At least, not for an 18-year-old rookie.
He’s creating scoring opportunities. He’s not getting bounced around the ice by bigger, older and smarter opponents than he was used to with the Spitfires. He’s trying. He’s learning from mistakes. Lessons he cant learn in junior.
Perhaps keeping a struggling Hall is best for his development.
Just ask the Tampa Bay Lightning and Steven Stamkos.
Aaron Vickers is the managing editor of Future Considerations and can be found on Twitter at www.twitter.com/VickersFC. Follow the official Future Considerations Twitter Feed at www.twitter.com/FCHockey.
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