Taylor Hall had one hell of a season. But how good was it and who should I dare to compare him to?
As fans of the home town team we tend to over value our players. It seems even more so when you consider that they have been playing for a basement dweller, some of them for their entire careers. In this series I am going to do some basic statistical comparisons of Oilers to players across the NHL in the hopes of shedding some light on what league wide value they may truly have.
Taylor Hall’s even strength player card
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The counting numbers he put up this past season are the best the Edmonton Oilers have seen in a very long time. Some highlights.
- ES points per 60 is 5th in the league among players playing more than 40 games.
- ES point total, 6th best.
- ES goals + first assists, 10th best.
The one big negatives of being an Oilers player, other than never making the playoffs, is that your possession stats suffer and Hall is no different than his teammates. The Oil sent a paltry 44.7% of unblocked shot attempts towards the net while he was on the ice which, on a bottom 3 team, is only good for 11th best and miles away from anything challenging the true elite possession players in the league. The other area Hall may be lacking is putting his own shots on net. His 166 at even strength is only good for 34th in the league which is well shy of the best even strength shooters. If he wants to take the next step into truly elite status, he’ll need to find a way to get the puck on net more at 5v5.
Side note: Erik Karlsson is shooting machine. His 184 ES shots, as a D man, is 38 shot clear of the second ranked D, Yandle, and 51 clear of the 3rd ranked D, Bieksa. There’s a reason he led Ottawa in scoring last season. Simply. Amazing.
This is where I bring out the proof at how good Taylor Hall really is. Before I start I want to say that this is a statistical comparison, not stylistic. The players listed aren’t necessarily a match in terms of the type of game they play, but the end results, statistically, mostly match up.
When filtering my selections I looked at 3 factors. Those are…
- Even strength points per 60 – Since Hall is in the top 5, I opened up the comparison to the top 30.
- PDO – Hall had an average season so I’ve filtered out any player over 101.9. There may be a little luck at play, but not enough to say that the numbers won’t be repeatable.
- Offensive to defensive zone start percentage. Anyone close to Hall (over 55%) was included.
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all numbers courtesy of extraskater.com
That is undeniably a formidable list. As you can see, almost all across the board, Taylor Hall is comparable or statistically superior to the players listed. He would look better if he could round his game out to represent the 2 way ability of Patrick Sharp, but at this point one can say with confidence that Hall would be a premier difference maker on any team in the NHL. If Dallas Eakins can fine tune the system to bring the possession game closer to break even, MacTavish finds some blue line reliability and stability in the d-zone and Hall can continue progressing toward becoming a 200 ft player, only the sky appears to be the limit.
Taylor Hall really has all the tools. Judging from the company he is keeping, the potential for him to be a perennial top 10 finisher in the scoring race is there. Given a lucky year he may even have the raw abilities needed to someday win the Art Ross.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to share some banter with me on Twitter, @borisnikov, be it hockey or otherwise.