Memorial Cup MVP Taylor Hall is expected to go early in the 2010 draft. Having been profiled by the legendary Don Cherry during his Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada, and awarded rookie of the year in both the OHL and CHL in 2008, all eyes are on Team Canada and Hall for the World Juniors. Hall scored a hat trick in the 3-0 shutout of Slovakia following in the footsteps of last season’s top pick, John Tavares. Both scored a hat trick during the IIHF World Junior Championship.
With the search on for the youngest and most charismatic player, hockey boys who used to play the puck on frozen streets now have made it to the big time. Hall led all OHL players with 23 goals, 54 points; Tavares had only two more points than Hall. Taylor Hall already has the maturity to play in the league. His style can only be witnessed in the awe of the goals he puts away that most goalies couldn’t even prevent. If you are not familiar with his work, look up his scoring videos online. Hall finds the tiniest hole and fits the puck through, with skill not miracles. This young Canadian brings both style and substance.
A product of Kingston, Ontario Hall’s rap sheet includes Canadian Major Junior Rookie of the year for the 2007-08 season, the Wayne Gretzky Trophy in 2008-09, and national attention centered on Hall last year as MVP of the Memorial Cup. Hall has played the past two seasons with the Windsor Spitfires, a team who reside across the riverbanks from the Detroit Red Wings. The area lives hockey and for the city of Windsor to bring home the MVP and the Cup was an uplifting time for a downtrodden city greatly affected by the auto industry collapse.
In an interview from the Ottawa Citizen, Taylor Hall was quoted “he patterns himself after players like Phil Kessel of the Boston Bruins and Martin Havlat of the Chicago Blackhawks, because they’re fast and they’re not the biggest guys.” Hall has shown speed and an ability to excite the fans and the media. At the World Juniors games, Hall was cheered on as a star, the hopeful for Canada. With the crowd chanting his name, Hall was awarded MVP after winning over Slovakia. Humble and hardworking, this future NHL star has demonstrated his talents before the masses.
Canada blasted through their opponents with dominance, and faced USA in the quarter semi-final. It was a voracious scoring match to prove who’s the best on the border, with a 4-4 tie ending in a Canadian shootout victory.
Team Canada and Taylor Hall earned a bye round, and moved on to play Switzerland Sunday in a semi-final match-up. Hall scored a beautiful goal against the Swiss opening up the lead to 3-0 in the second period. The third period led hall to open ice and an amazing wrap around goal adding to the win over Switzerland 6-1.
Canada met the USA for the gold medal game on Tuesday, and Hall scored one goal; however, it was not enough to beat the USA for Gold. Team USA beat Canada 6-5 in overtime. Hall had a total of six goals in the World Junior Championships
Hall has patience and plays as a team member rather than a grandstander. With his name atop the rookie draft list for next season, he will become not just a household name in Canada but global. The draft isn’t close, so no predictions can be made of where he may play. Put Taylor Hall on your wish list for next year’s fantasy leagues. I’ve forewarned you.