SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers’ Hall eager to advance

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:02 PM ET

DALLAS — The good news is that Taylor Hall is tied for the lead in Oilers scoring.

That’s also the bad news.

Yes, he’s an elite talent, but a just-turned-19-year-old rookie who’s barely been in the NHL long enough to need a haircut since his training camp photo shouldn’t necessarily be your best player.

“He’s been so darn good for us,” said head coach Tom Renney, who’ll watch Hall take part in the NHL All Star game skills competition. “I don’t want our team to sound so bad that he’s emerged as the guy, because I think we’re better than that, but really he’s that good.”

Good enough to get a ticket to the All Star game, consideration for the Calder Trophy and early validation for a scouting staff that went with Taylor over Tyler.

“I think I’m doing pretty adequately,” said Hall, who went into the break with 16 goals and 15 assists. “There have been points in the season where I struggled and points in the season where I did really well and strung a few good games together.

“I’m going into the All-Star break feeling pretty good about myself, but still knowing that I have another level to achieve and the team has a little bit more to prove as well.”

Going to the big game will certainly count as a highlight in a young career that’s already head plenty.

“It’s definitely going to be really cool to rub shoulders with these guys,” he said. “You play in the league with them but at the same time you’re a little bit in awe when you play against them. To be on the same ice surface with them is going to be awesome.

“I’m not going to go over and strike a conversation with too many guys, but guys like Kane and Toews, even though they’re young they’re still the greatest hockey players in the world. Lidstrom, guys like that. It’s unfortunate Crosby can’t be there. Ovechkin, it would be pretty cool just to rub shoulders with him.”

Someday, the Oilers hope, some 19-year-old will be saying the same thing about Hall.

“What a great cornerstone to our team moving forward,” said Renney. “He’s a legitimate good kid who wants badly to learn. He’s very coachable. We have to make sure that as he grows we grow along with him and provide him the right people, the right combination, the right style of play that plays to his strength. It’s an exciting time for all of us.”

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca

Twitter.com/TYCHKOWSKI


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