Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall, the No.1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, participated in practice with the Barons on Wednesday. Sidelined since March after undergoing shoulder surgery, Hall will continue his rehabilitation in Oklahoma City.
“I won’t be playing any games the next two weeks,” Hall said. “I’m getting used to everything around me. I’d say the first of November realistically is the first time I’d be playing in games.”
Hall has scored 95 points, including 49 goals, in 126 games with the Oilers the past two seasons. He said the final step to return to game action is making sure the shoulder can withstand typical contact like slamming into the boards.
“I haven’t had a lot of body contact or checking so I’ll get myself used to contact in practice,” Hall said. “I’ll just kind of get into a little but not go full right away. But I do need to get some body contact to see how my shoulder reacts and see how everything else feels.”
When Hall returns the Barons will have all three members off Edmonton’s talented, young No. 1 line, players allowed to play in the American Hockey League during the NHL lockout because they’re still in entry level contracts.
“Playing with those guys will make it a lot easier, for sure,” Hall said. “It’s lot better than going to a team where you don’t know anybody. There are a lot of guys here that have played with us and spent some time with us in camp. It’s a young team. The coaches make you feel welcome. I’m pretty happy to be here.”
Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle have endorsed playing in Oklahoma City. Most of players’ non-ice time is spent downtown where they stay.
“The guys really like the city. They like the people here,” Hall said. “So far, walking to the rink it seems like a very vibrant city and a nice place to live. Jordan and Nuge have told me they really like it here. I’m excited to be here… It’s nice to be on a team and be part of that atmosphere.”