You knew it was coming. Hell, last season when I previewed the Oilers and the Bruins, it was all about Hall vs. Seguin. #1 vs #2. Before we get this preview in full swing, let's play a little game I call "Before and After". Before the 2010-2011 playoffs:
Taylor Hall was the man last season. He was the number one draft pick and got tons of ice time (averaged about 19 minutes a game last year) and was on pace to score a bunch of goals before succumbing to a high ankle sprain. In 65 games last year, Hall scored 22 goals, had 20 assists. He averaged a goal every 3 games, which isn't bad for a rookie. Many looked at him and said "Well, he's a good player on a terrible team, no wonder he gets so much ice time." This is true, but you can't deny the kid has talent.
Tyler Seguin was dubbed the savior of the Bruins before he even hit the ice. Seguin was a talented kid on a playoff contending team so, unlike Hall (and guys like Jeff Skinner), he was unable to be let loose and score his buckets upon buckets of goals. Instead most of Seguin's time was spent in the press box watching the Bruins play hockey. That's not entirely accurate as Seguin did play 74 games, but you know what I mean. Seguin did spend some time in the press box (healthy scratches, by the way) because his defensive game was not up to par. People in Boston begged for Seguin. Claude didn't budge because he knew "The Kid" needed to be taught. After the 2010-2011 playoffs:
Like I mentioned earlier: Hall shut it down due to a high ankle sprain and obviously the Oilers missed the playoffs. This isn't to say that Hall sucked last season because it's far from it. Was he Caulder Trophy material? No, but based on the three finalists it's not hard to see why. For those that don't remember: Jeff Skinner won the Caulder Trophy after he totaled 63 points.
Need I say more? After the jump, more preview goodness...