“This or That?” is an ongoing feature at Sportsnet.ca that pits two players with obvious—and sometimes, not so obvious—ties and attempts to answer the basic question, “Who would you rather have?” Readers can offer their two cents by answering the poll at the bottom.
The Taylor versus Tyler drama at the 2010 draft was, really, driven more by alliteration than uncertainty. Taylor Hall may not have been a slam-dunk first-overall pick ahead of fast-rising Tyler Seguin, but by the time the Edmonton Oilers brass walked to the stage in Los Angeles, it would’ve been genuinely surprising to hear them call a name other than Hall’s.
Four years later, however, you can make cracking cases for both players as preferable to the other—which is exactly what we’re about to do.
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Hall and Seguin have had different experiences through the early stages of their pro careers, Seguin having been to the Stanley Cup final twice with the Bruins, while Hall has yet to see his first playoff game in Edmonton. By the same token, both players have endured their share of hardship. Hall has faced perpetual questions about when the sad-sack Oilers will turn things around, while Seguin never blended in Boston, leading to a much-needed trade to Dallas just over 12 months ago.
Beyond similar first names, these players are linked by all-world speed and skill. But if we were to draft all over again, who would you take first?
The case for Hall: At six-foot-one and about 200 pounds, Hall is big guy who moves as fast as anyone in the league, and there may not be a single player who can match his ability to drive the net with the puck. Hall’s game has gone to another level the past two seasons, which have seen the left winger accumulate 130 points in 120 contests.
Moreover, Hall has managed to stay fairly healthy during that stretch, at least relative to his first two years in the league, when he missed a combined total of 38 games. Some deem that lost time as a negative consequence of Hall’s full-throttle approach, and it’s been suggested he needs to pick his spots better. While there may be some truth in that, it’s also a credit to Hall that he plays each shift like it could sway the direction of his team’s entire season.
The case for Seguin: Because so much was made of Seguin’s reported clashes with Bruins coach Claude Julien and his apparent love of Boston’s nightlife, it’s easy to forget he actually led the B’s in scoring as a sophomore in 2011-12.
Still, the trade to Dallas last summer proved to be a serious watershed moment in the youngster’s career. With the Stars, Seguin began playing his natural position of centre full-time and formed a deadly chemistry with marksman Jamie Benn.
Outside of Patrick Kane, there may not be a more fun player to watch in a one-on-one attacking position than the electrifying Seguin. With 37 goals and 84 points in 80 games last season, Seguin demonstrated he’s an elite talent who can both tee up and complete plays. Best of all, you get the sense he’s just getting started.
Verdict: If this were a referendum on who’s had the better career so far, Hall is the winner. He’s done more with less, playing on bad teams in Edmonton. That said, Seguin is just now hitting his stride, has had no trouble staying healthy and plays a more valued position. We’ll use that to give him the slightest of nods over Hall.