Each summer, there are certain stories that just seem to sprout up.
Players who should probably have NHL contracts must consider tryouts instead. Player X thinks his injury rehab is going just swell. A veteran might be in the best shape of his life.
Oh yeah: Taylor Hall hopes the Edmonton Oilers will be more like [insert actual playoff team from the previous year].
Before entering last season, he was hoping they’d be more like the New York Rangers and/or Montreal Canadiens. The latest model may raise a few eyebrows for those deep into the Battle of Alberta: the 23-year-old hopes that the Oilers can ape the 2014-15 Calgary Flames, as TSN’s Mark Masters reports.
“You see how teams like Calgary last year surprise people,” Hall said. “There’s always teams that surprise and we want to be one of those teams.”
Some might sound the broken record on Hall, but perhaps he should get a pardon because this really has been an exciting off-season for Edmonton, a franchise that might finally be “getting it.”
Hall took to the ice for the first time with Connor McDavid on Monday, and Hall said that “I feel like it’s almost my first year again.”
The Oilers also added a respected defenseman in Andrej Sekera, intriguing goalie Cam Talbot and an enviably bright coach in Todd McLellan.
Of course, it’s still important to remember just how optimistic the winger was a year ago, and how familiar the disappointing results felt in 2014-15.
Will he get burned again next season or is there truly light at the end of the tunnel?