Hall not a bad consolation prize

TERRY JONES, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:01 AM ET

Should Pat Quinn's mini camp not have the desired effect and the dysfunctional Edmonton Oilers lose to the Nashville Predators tonight, fans ought not boo them when they leave the ice.

No, instead they should take up the chant.

Tay-lor Hall! Tay-lor Hall! Tay-lor Hall!

The NHL's Central Scouting Bureau released the mid-season rankings yesterday and the Team Canada World Junior star is ranked as the No. 1 North American skater.

This is all new stuff for Oiler fans, to be so close to being the worst team in the NHL that they can almost taste it. Two decades removed from being No. 1, for the first time ever they have a shot at picking No. 1.

Tay-lor Hall! Tay-lor Hall! Tay-lor Hall!

The highest the Oilers ever picked in the draft was fourth in 1994. But they, uh, picked Jason Bonsignore.

A year later, with the draft in Edmonton and 17,000 fans chanting Doan! Doan! Doan! to encourage the Oilers to pick Halkirk's Shane Doan (who just played his 1,000th game the other day) with their sixth pick in the draft, Edmonton chose, ahem, Steve Kelly.

A year later, again choosing sixth, they picked, uh, Boyd Deveraux. The mid-90s was the last time the Oilers were close to being this bad.

If they'd only been worse. Or picked better.

So it was with unprecedented interest that Edmonton fans viewed the Central Scouting lists released yesterday where forward Tyler Seguin of the Plymouth Whalers and Hall's Windsor Spitfires teammate (and World Junior gold medal winner) defenceman Cam Fowler were listed second and third behind him.

Seguin was ranked No.1 in the preliminary edition of the Central Scouting rankings in November before he failed to make Team Canada while Hall became the only draft-eligible player picked to wear the red maple leaf and ended up tied for third in tournament scoring with six goals and six assists.

Hall was also voted the third best player on the Canadian team behind Oilers draft choice Jordan Eberle and St. Louis draft Alex Pietrangelo.

Finn forward Mikael Granlund and Russians Vladimir Tarasenko and Maxim Kitsyn topped the European list.

It's usually the guys below the top three which Edmonton fans are looking at when the lists come out.

Yes, this is brand new territory for the Oilers who go into tonight's game only four points out of last place where the return of Sherwood Park's Cam Ward in goal has brought on a two-game winning streak for the 30th place Carolina Hurricanes, the team Edmonton went to a seventh game against in the Stanley Cup final four years ago.

A Carolina win over Toronto and an Oilers loss to Nashville tonight and the Oilers would only be two points out of 30th place and prime position in the NHL's little lottery for the first pick in the draft.

The team which finishes last, in the NHL's draft lottery system has a 48.2% chance of picking first and a guarantee of acquiring no worse than the second selection in the draft. Finish 29th overall and your odds of drafting first drop to 18.8% and spiral downward from there to 14.2% in 28th, 10.7% in 27th and 8.% in 26th.

Only the five lowest positioned teams have a shot at the No. 1 pick. Finish 25th and you have a 6.2% chance of getting the second selection.

That drops to 2.1% as the 10th lowest or 21st place team overall.

Tay-lor Hall! Tay-lor Hall! Tay-lor Hall!

Turning this team around right now is not in the best interests of the Edmonton hockey fan.

They'd have to go 26-8-3 the rest of the way to make the playoffs. Any band-aid solutions would do nothing but give you a higher draft pick and increase the likelihood of picking another Jason Bonsignore, Steve Kelly or Boyd Devereau.

Tay-lor Hall! Tay-lor Hall! Tay-lor Hall!

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos