Tyler Seguin walked to his stall in the home dressing room at TD Garden Wednesday, saw a group of reporters from both Boston and Edmonton waiting, and jokingly said he would not be answering questions about Taylor Hall. Even if he was serious, it would be hard to blame him.
The Taylor/Tyler circus leading up to the 2010 draft seems like a lifetime ago for Seguin, but some 17 months later, it’s still a story that has its quirks and plenty of questions. What if Seguin was in the other dressing room as a member of the Oilers? What if Hall was on the Cup-winning squad? What if Edmonton, as GM Steve Tambellini attempted to do, got that second overall pick from Boston and drafted both players?
Both players ended up winners from the whole process. One got the distinction of going first overall and had a big rookie year, while the other one won the Stanley Cup. Yet before all of that, there was loads of uncertainty. After all, Seguin was the top-ranked player in the draft by Central Scouting, but Hall was coming off a dazzling Memorial Cup championship run. Hall and the Windsor Spitfires swept Seguin’s Plymouth Whalers, a four-game series in which Hall racked up eight points and Seguin – who had led the OHL in scoring that season – was kept off the score sheet altogether.
Seguin tested off the charts, while Hall didn’t work out due to crushing hit into the endboards he had taken from Travis Hamonic. In the weeks and days leading up to the draft, the two were the center of attention, though neither knew which one would end up in Edmonton and which one would be in Boston.
First, there’s the question of what would have happened had the Oilers opted for Seguin, with Hall falling into the Bruins’ laps. Would Hall, who scored twice as many goals as Seguin last year while seeing far more ice time a night (18:13) have done as well with the type of minutes the B’s were able to offer Seguin (12:13) in their veteran lineup? Hall was undoubtedly the better play between the two last year, but it was Seguin’s four-point Game 2 performance that gave the Bruins life in the Eastern Conference finals, so would the B’s still have won the Cup with Hall?
Hall admitted to reporters Wednesday he thought about it while watching the playoffs and Stanley Cup finals.
“I think I was kind of forced into thinking that when they won the Cup last year, whether you like it or not,” Hall said. “People ask me about that a lot. I wouldn’t change anything. I love where I am right now. I love the way our team’s playing this year. I think we all had a feeling that last year was going to have some growing pains in it and Boston was going to be a contender. So I don’t think that anyone was really shocked that they won the Cup in the end because they were supposed to be a very good team. But as far as our careers go, I’m very happy with where I am right now.”
Then there’s the question of whether the B’s would have won the Cup without either Seguin or Hall. Remember, if the Oilers had their way, both players would have called Rexall Place home.
After the Oilers selected Hall first overall and the B’s took Seguin, Pierre LeBrun reported that Tambellini had “tried until [the] last possible second” to get the second overall pick from Boston so they could secure the then-18-year-old center. Chiarelli then said as much.
“[Tambellini] told me early on he was going to try and get it,” Chiarelli said after making the pick, “and he didn’t give up.”
While it is unknown what the Oilers were offering in their bid to get the second overall pick, the idea of such a deal makes for a heck of a “what if” game now that all parties are settled, with one having his name on the Stanley Cup. While it was only natural for Hall to watch the playoffs and think about what playing for Boston would have been like, Seguin never thought about what it would have been like to be in Edmonton.
“Not really because it didn't happen,” Seguin said when asked about the possibility of playing for Edmonton, either with Hall or otherwise. “Once the draft happened and I knew where I was going, I turned the page. Didn't think about it again until now because you guys are firing at me with all these questions about it.”
Said Hall: “I know both teams were pretty content with their picks and it ended up the way it is. And I’m sure they’re happy with the player they got and I hope Edmonton is too.”