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by www.thegoodpoint.com on 11/27/08 at 03:56 PM ET
Taylor Hall may be less than two weeks removed from his 17th birthday, but he is already turning hockey heads as the projected first overall pick in his NHL Draft year. The amazing thing about this is that, because of his late birthday, Hall won’t be eligible to be drafted until 2010.
What this means for Hall is one more year playing for the Windsor Spitfires in the OHL and one more year for NHL scouts to salivate over the slick center.
While talk about being the projected first overall NHL pick may be stressful for some 17-year-olds, Hall is taking it one stride at a time and is modelling himself after this year’s projected first overall pick, John Tavares.
“A player like me can see what [Tavares] is going through and how he handles it and you can see on the ice what he’s doing and how he has matured as a player. Hopefully I can do that,” said Hall. “I listen to a lot of his interviews and he has become a really mature man and hopefully I can do the same.”
In his debut season with the Spits, Hall led Windsor and all OHL rookies with 45 goals while pitching in 39 assists for 84 points in just 63 games. These numbers earned him the OHL’s Emms Family Award (given to the league’s top first year player) and the Canadian Hockey League’s (CHL) Rookie of the Year award.
On the national stage, Hall – 16 years old at the time – was fifth in overall scoring at the IIHF World Under 18 Championship as a member of Team Canada’s gold medal winning team. He would return later that year and lead Team Canada in scoring at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament on the way to yet another gold.
“[Hall] can shoot in stride and he can make plays in high speed,” Hockey Canada head scout Al Murray told TSN. “He’s a very dangerous player and a player who’s always a threat to score in every shift out there.”
With a dominating freshman year in the review mirror, Hall turned his attention to destroying any thought of a sophomore curse and has set his eyes on an OHL Championship.
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