#1. Taylor Hall | LW | Windsor (OHL)
Date of Birth: November 14th, 1991 Height: 6.01 Weight: 185lbs. Shoots: L Season Statistics: Regular Season | 57GP 40G 66A 106P 56PIM Playoffs | 19GP 17G 18A 35P 32PIM TSR Midterm Rank: 1 | Position Rank: 1st Forwards League Rank: 1st OHL | Country Rank: 1st Canada
Taylor Hall would have been ready to be drafted last season, but his late 1991 birth date forced him into 2010 draft eligibility. The 18-year old used his extra season in the Ontario Hockey League to cement himself as one of, if not the, top player in the 2010 NHL draft class. Taylor Hall experienced every possible level of hockey available to him this season playing in the OHL, OHL playoffs, Memorial Cup, and lastly the World Junior Championship where he did not disappoint. It would be understandable for a player’s production to eventually drop off after playing that much hockey in a season. Hall’s did not, and with the exception of the World Juniors, he did the same thing last season. Hall excelled under pressure in both Memorial Cups where he was relied on to produce and produce he did, winning Memorial Cup MVP both seasons.
Hall is immediately going to make a franchise better. He is the complete offensive package. The ability he has playing at top speed is incredible, and for Taylor Hall that speed in immense. His quick reaction time on the ice combined with his soft hands are two abilities that can really make opposing players look foolish on the ice. Some players look as though they have pre-thought the move they are going to make on the defenseman, but for Taylor Hall he reads the play and then reacts, which really sets him apart from other players. Hall’s hands and speed are not the only qualities that make this player such an elite talent. His shot placement is incredible, and mixed with his hard, quick release, he can make goaltenders pay if they are one inch out of position. Based on his on-ice attributes alone, passing on Hall with the first pick of the draft would be an incredible tough decision.
There are only a couple of knocks on Taylor Hall’s play. One is the defensive component of his game, but realistically he will be brought in to score goals, that will be his major addition. A defensive game can come with times, and as long as he is not a constant liability in his own end, it is a trait that will fly under the radar. The second is the amount of giveaways he can produce in a game. He is obviously an extremely talented stick handler and combined with his drive he can hold onto the puck a little too long at times, causing a turnover. This is one attribute within a very small list that Hall will need to continue to get better at in order to become the elite player we all expect.
As previously mentioned, Hall has played a lot of hockey over the past two seasons playing against the most elite players of his age group, and he has yet to show any ill effects. This can only make his transition into the NHL that much smoother as he is used to playing well into May. His play at the Memorial Cup is something that really gave Taylor Hall the edge down the finishing stretch and he tops TSR’s Final 2010 NHL Draft Rankings.
Pros: Skating, overall offensive flair, determination/drive
Cons: Two-way hockey
Skillset Comparison: Marian Gaborik