Over the past few seasons there has been a lot of talk about auditioning Taylor Hall at centre. This season with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins unlikely to to start the season there is more talk about moving Taylor Hall to centre than there has been in any other season. Taylor Hall himself even threw the possibility out on OilersNow on Aug, 13, 2013.
Taylor Hall says he may have to play a few games at centre to start the season if RNH isn't ready to go.— OilersNow (@OilersNow) August 9, 2013
The Oilers lack of depth at the centre position has been a hot topic on C&B as Derek Zona pointed out in Why Can't the Oilers Have Dilemas Like This? and Ryan Batty pointed out in Nugent-Hopkins' Shoulder, Depth at Centre, and Why I'm Still Talking About It. Both of these articles were written before the announcement of Linus Omark's return the Edmonton Oilers which changes the forward depth chart and introduces an even better possibility of moving Hall to centre.
As displayed in the past the Oilers have made similar moves to this. Lowetide wrote about this specific topic back in his Aug 2010 article A Wing and a Prayer talking about when Mark Messier got moved from wing to centre and why it could work with Hall. Let us also not forget Ralph Krueger's master plan of moving Ryan Smyth to centre (see WTF?) at a point in his career that may not have made the most sense but it was a decision made under extenuating circumstances. I wasn't able to find other references to players switching to centre from wing in their careers but if you know of some I'd love to dig deeper. Anyway back on topic, so although Hall at centre may not be ideal there is still the possibility it works and if it works what does the line up look like?
First look at the line up without Nugent-Hopkins
Assuming that Hall at centre works out, what are the possible line combinations when Nugent-Hopkins returns to the line up?
That leave Anton Lander, Mike Brown, Jesse Joensuu and possibly Ben Eager fighting for the 12F/13F position.
This is interesting to say the least. All of a sudden the depth at centre all of a sudden starts to look stronger. There are 3 solid lines that can produce offense a legitimate 4th line checking centre (being paid too much for 4th line but that's another discussion) and some options on the wing. This could work for the team and give them a legitimate shot if the Hall at centre project works out.
What are your thoughts?
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