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McKenzie: Hall was too good to pass up for Oilers

Bob McKenzie
6/25/2010 11:57:13 PM
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Some thoughts from the NHL Entry Draft on Friday night:

By taking Windsor Spitfires forward Taylor Hall first overall, the Edmonton Oilers get a player who takes the puck harder to the net than any other player available in this draft.

He has blinding speed and tremendous tenacity to take it to the net, but he also has a high skill level.

He's a back-to-back MVP winner at the Memorial Cup and played 'lights out' for the silver medal-winning Canadian team at the World Junior Hockey Championship. Hall couldn't have done anything more than he did the last couple of years and if the Edmonton Oilers didn't pick him - it would have been a bold move indeed.

Now Tyler Seguin - according to most scouts - is very close to Hall in a lot of ways. But when you look at Hall's skill level, how he wants to score lots of goals and be a difference maker in every game that he plays, it's tough to pass up.

As his junior coach Bob Boughner says, 'He would take the net off its moorings with his teeth if it meant he could score a goal.'

It sure sounds painful, but it's to be expected with Hall.

On the trade front, the Vancouver Canucks made a significant deal acquiring defenceman Keith Ballard and forward Victor Oreskovich from the Florida Panthers for Vancouver's 25th overall selection and forwards Steve Bernier and Michael Grabner.

Now it's pretty obvious to see what the Canucks are doing here.

Oreskovich is a depth player, but a big and physical one at that. He'll bring some edge to the Canucks' lineup.

Keith Ballard is not a big guy, but he's a big hitter. He's very physical and gets in your face. General manager Mike Gillis also likes the fact that he's an affordable defenceman for a number of years.

The Canucks gave up a 'skill' player in Grabner and a big player in Bernier (though you may not consider him to be overly physical). But there's no doubt that Canucks are getting a lot more sandpaper in their lineup.

Bob McKenzie


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