Not too long ago everyone was getting very excited over Steve Stamkos. He was a young prospect that had displayed great promise and was set to be drafted first overall. However, despite all the talk about Stamkos, there was a small whisper being heard.
John Tavares wasn't eligible to be drafted that year, but his name could still be heard among the lips of some hockey analysts.
Around the same time today, we have that player on our minds, John Tavares. Just like for Steve Stamkos, there's a lot of excitement built around him, and he's also set up to be drafted first overall in the upcoming draft.
Sorry to disappoint you, but this article isn't about how good Tavares is or how overrated he is.
This is about the Tavares of last year, Taylor Hall.
Just like Stamkos and Tavares, Taylor Hall is set to be drafted first overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Taylor Hall finished the 2008-2009 season ranked 6th in points in the OHL with a total of 90 points in 63 games, two points behind high-ranked prospect Cody Hodsgon. If you're hoping to hear more about Hall, I'm sorry to disappoint you once again
As heard on Leafs This Week...
Mel: Hey everyone, I'm here with my co-host Andrew, how are you today Andrew?
Andrew: I'm great, how about you?
Mel: I'm good. We're being joined by Taylor Hall. He's set to be drafted first overall int he 2010 NHL Entry Draft, and he currently plays for the Windsor Spitfires. Taylor, how are you?
Taylor Hall: Pretty good, you?
Mel: I'm not bad. So just as an ice breaker, you know, you're seventeen, you're a good looking kid I have to admit, you've been getting a lot of attention lately, so I was curious; how's your love life been?
Taylor Hall: Good I guess. I had a girlfriend for a while, but nothing really serious.
Mel: Okay, that was just my ice breaker little question. I believe Andrew has his first question for you.
Andrew: Yup. Let's get to know you a little better; tell us about where you grew up and a little about your early life.
Taylor Hall: I grew up in Calgary, Alberta, and I moved to Kingston when I was thirteen and lived there ever since. Whenever I go back to Kingston it means a lot to me because that's where all my friends are.
Mel: Okay, so everyone has role models growing up; who was your favourite team or even player?
Taylor Hall: Well, growing up it was the flames; I always loved watching them play. Right now it's probably Sydney Crosby, because he's one of the best players in the NHL and he's a good role model.
Mel: Do you still follow Calgary games?
Taylor Hall: Not really, it's pretty hard. I have a very busy schedule, I just watch hockey whenever I can, I don't really follow the flames anymore, they were my childhood favourite team.
Mel: Okay, that's good. My favourite team is Toronto because I live in Toronto i guess.
Taylor Hall: Yeah, I don't really have a favourite team anymore. Everyone here cheers for Detroit, so that's who I cheer for now.
Andrew: You definitely have a bright future ahead. What inspired you to start playing hockey?
Taylor Hall: I'm not sure. My mom put me on skates when I was three and I've played ever since, now it's just an everyday thing, I don't even think about it, I'm lucky to play the game everyday and come to the rink with a smile on my face. It's not a job for me at all, it's just something I love doing.
Andrew: Okay, that's cool.
Mel: Taylor, there's been a lot of attention headed your way. Don Cherry was praising you on Coach's corner, and you've been receiving a lot of recognition from a lot of outside observer, and actually I read that last year in 2008 they actually profiled you on Sports Illustrated on page features on young athletes to keep an eye one. So my question is; you're only seventeen, how are you taking it in, or have you taken it in? Is it still becoming a reality for you?
Taylor Hall: It's just attention, I don't take it too seriously, and if I want to be a good player as I want to be, there's going to be attention along the way and it's something I'm going to have to deal with. it's an everyday thing right now and I'm just trying to be level-headed.
Mel: Well, that's good. A lot of different people tend to take it very differently and get cocky. You seem to have a very good head on your shoulder. It's not good to get wrapped up in the media sense of it, just like if you were an actor in Hollywood, but you're pretty young, so you should be gaining some kind of confidence from it.
Taylor Hall: Yeah, I get confidence but it's not really in my head, it's mostly for my family and friends to see how I'm doing, but I don't take it too seriously.
Mel: Yeah, your family must be pretty proud of you.
Taylor Hall: Yeah, for sure. They keep all the clippings and stuff like that. I think my family enjoys it more than I do.
Andrew: Taylor, I'm sure any NHL team would love to have a player of your calibre on their roster; which team would you be most interested into getting drafted onto?
Taylor Hall: It depends on where I'm ranked when draft week comes along I guess. Probably a team like Ottawa or Toronto, they're close to home and they seem like a team that's rebuilding and stuff like that. I don't really have any preferences, any team would be great to play for, and just playing in the NHL is fantastic. Ottawa and Toronto are close to home and they seem to be a good fit for me.
Mel: It's actually funny how you named Toronto. I'm pretty proud of you right now, not many people want to come play for Toronto.
Taylor Hall: I'd go and play in Toronto for sure.
Mel: It's been a dream probably. So, I saw a quote said by one of your Windsor Spitfires teammates, Ryan Ellis, and he said, and I'm sure you've heard this, "the 2010 draft can't come fast enough for him. He's just unbelievable, he's got skill, talent, he's got it all. The whole package." So, how does it feel to be so highly respected by your peers and especially a guy like that who has already done so much at the junior level?
Taylor Hall: Well, Ryan's one of my good friends. I see him everyday and I hang out with him a lot and it's really nice of him to say stuff like that. I can't really comment on how I play my game, but I'm fast and I'm pretty big.
Mel: I've seen the way you play, you're six feet right?
Taylor Hall: Yeah, six feet, six foot one, whatever.
Mel: Well, do you agree with him or how do you see yourself as a player?
Taylor Hall: I'm pretty big and I'm pretty fast and an offensive player that loves to score goals and get the play in the offensive going and trying creating turn overs and stuff like that, so I love playing offense, but at the same time I feel like I'm pretty reliable on defense.
Andrew: Do you have any goals or achievements you hope to accomplish throughout your career?
Taylor Hall: I can't really say because I don't know how my career's going to turn out, but eventually down the road this year I want to win a Memorial Cup or something like that, but later in my career I'd love to win the Stanley Cup. That'd be an unbelievable experience and it's probably every kid's dream as soon as they start playing hockey to win the cup, and if I could do that, that'd be great.
Mel: Well, I've actually seen some of your goals and I can't help but notice the type of reaction you kinda have when you score. You seem very excited, very flamboyant, and from what I've seen you look pretty intense on the ice. Do you see yourself as that in-your-face type of player, like do you try to get under the oposition's skin?
Taylor Hall: Not at all. I don't do that stuff on the ice, but like I said, I love to score goals. I don't think there's anything wrong with celebrating, you see Ovechkin and how he reacted and that just shows the passion.
Mel: It's funny that you mentioned Ovechkin. Not everyone is an Ovechkin admirer, and it's funny how when I saw your videos and goals it kinda reminded me of Ovechkin, but in Wcase you didn't like him, I didn't want to offend you in any particular way.
Taylor Hall: Nah, how can you not like Ovechkin? He's the best player in the league right now. Don Cherry's getting on him for celebrating, but when you score you should be happy and that's all that matters.
Mel: Exactly. So, your stats from first year to your second year kinda changed a little, you went from scoring seven more goals than you had assists in your first year to getting 13 more assists than goals in your second. So have you changed anything about your game since joining the team?
Taylor Hall: Not really, I can't really control my stats or stuff like that.
Mel: Well, I can see you have a great future ahead of you. You've been progressing so far, so all the best of luck to you.
Taylor Hall: Yup, thank you.
Andrew: This is my last question for tonight. Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for all young hockey players out there?
Taylor Hall: I think I've already said this before, but just have fun with the game. I've witnessed it myself, guys that don't enjoy it, guys that don't have fun, they're just not as good, and they don't get as far in their careers. Just enjoy the game and keep your love for the game. So just love the game, and play for fun.
Andrew: Thanks Taylor, it was an honour having you on the show.
Mel: It was really great, thanks so much Taylor.
Taylor Hall: Yup, no problem.
Andrew: We wish you the best for your career and hopefully you'll turn out great.
Taylor Hall: Thanks guys.