Wow. Taylor Hall can do things at high speed that dazzle the mind. He’s “all that” and a kid who appears to have his head on straight too (no small matter in a town that has been less than ideal for the teenage royalty of the NHL in the past) and for Oiler fans sky’s the limit.
Hall’s ability to react quickly and the fact that he drives to the net so often adds up to an enormous number of good scoring chances. As he matures, more of those chances are going to cash.
Taylor Hall 2010 is the tip of the iceberg. He’s an impact player of the future, a pure offensive gamebreaker.
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.78 (4th among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 3.27 (8th among regular forwards)
- Qual Comp: 2nd toughest among regular forwards
- Qual Team: 5th best teammates among regular forwards
- Corsi Rel: 10.3 (best among regular forwards)
- Zone Start: 52.0% (4th easiest among regular forwards)
- Zone Finish: 51.2% (7th best among regular forwards)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 186/11.8% (4th among F’s>100 shots)
- Boxcars: 65gp, 22-20-42 (led the team in goals as a rookie)
- Plus Minus: -9 on a team that was -52.
- What do these numbers tell us? Hall had an outstanding rookie season playing on the front lines. His relCorsi led the team and he managed to finish first among Oilers in goals scored despite missing 17 games at the end of the season. He had a rookie season similar to Steven Stamkos as a rookie (Stamkos went 79gp, 23-23-46 with a 1.78/5×560) and that’s some pretty nice company.
- Hall had better linemates than Stamkos. Really? My memory isn’t what it used to be, but the Lightning had some nice veterans during Stamkos’ rookie season. Even if he was playing with Malone or Recchi, there’s a lot of pop on that team.
- How Could these numbers be better? Two areas: health and the powerplay. I don’t think we should get our shorts in a knot over either item, but a full 82 game season would be a terrific help for next season. Knowing the Oilers, they’ll trade for Dorsett this summer. So if Hall can avoid fighting the rest of the league all should be fine. The powerplay is a different item, as even a wunderkind like Hall can’t undo what’s been done re: Oilers with a man advantage. I think the team should try blindfolds next season, or possibly two pucks on the ice at the same time. Kidding aside, Hall’s presence on the PP should increase this season and with his skills it’s only a matter of time before the offense arrives with the man advantage.
- They need to get him an enforcer. No, they don’t. It would be nice if the Oilers could acquire actual players who have size and some crust (I hate using the word, but gumption seems to be out of time) but giving a denver boot to a skill line doesn’t work (thanks to Pat Quinn for the year long experiment that proved this yet again).
- Hartikainen should play with him? No, Hartikainen should earn his way up the roster. Hall’s skills are so good this isn’t experiment time and there’s no Wayne Cashman warming up on the sidelines. Last season’s Horcoff-Hall-Eberle line worked well and that’s probably how things will start in the fall.
- Hall played a little center. What happened to that? I don’t know, but it sounded like a plan. Renney said the team would re-visit it but then everyone got hurt or headed for the coast so maybe it comes back. One thing I hope: IF the Oilers like Landeskog better than RNH or Larsson then maybe they’ll consider the move and take BPA. I don’t know that Landeskog is the best player available but drafting for position need makes no sense.
- Is Hall a better offensive prospect than Eberle? Yes.
- Why? Give me your reasons (hat tip to LMHF#1). Well, Hall had better numbers in junior at the same age and after Hall was injured Eberle’s level of play went down a little. Mostly, I put a lot of importance on age, or more accurately what players accomplish at a young age. Robin Yount could barely get above the Mendoza line as a rookie, but he did it in diapers. Taylor Hall was on his way to a 25+ goal season with the Sisters of Mercy hockey team as a teenager and he was the straw that stirred the drink many nights. A lot of offense comes after he’s driven to the net and Hall is the most dynamic offensive player this side of Ales Hemsky. As a teenager.
- Should we be worried about injuries? I don’t think so. Hall’s injury came as a direct result of frustration on his part. What are you going to do? Youth is wasted on all the wrong people and he should have known better, but would you rather have a shrinking violet? Hall doesn’t like being pushed around. He’s probably going to work like a bugger this summer and come back and go Angelo Siciliano on everyone’s ass.
- What is he good at? Pretty much anything he puts his mind to. Hall’s all reflex with a trigger, and the wide variety of ways he scored this season is perhaps the most heartening thing of all. Breakaways, driving to the net, converting sweet passes in the slot, a few off the butt. He can score a lot of ways, and I haven’t even mentioned his shot which O by the way is going to take it’s toll on the NW division’s collective save percentage too.
- What isn’t he good at? Well we don’t know that he’s bad at it, but the play away from the puck will need work. Hall did put forth effort and seemed to be learning more as the season went on, but there are very few rookies who come in with a well rounded defensive game. And none I recall are teenagers. He could also be a little more selfish in the scoring zone, but this is being really picky.
- What are his top end skills? Speed, shot, effort, reflex, genetics, rubbery quality, desire, balance, passing, attitude, team player. What did I miss?
- Who would you trade him for? No one. Seriously. You know, I’m an old guy and maybe have no right to enjoy another glorious career from start to finish after all those young Oilers from the 80s, but this kid was drafted by our town, said all the right things and then did all the right things. Taylor Hall is an Edmonton Oiler and he’s just getting started. I wouldn’t trade it. Seriously. I’m just going to enjoy it and tell everyone under 30 they should too because God knows Taylor Hall’s don’t come along every year.
- What can he be? Don’t know. I don’t think we’ve seen enough of him yet; a season gives you all kinds of clues but maybe he can play center and maybe he will score 20 on the PP and maybe he’s going to be able to protect himself. I predict Taylor Hall will never play defense or goal. After that, his career is tracking in a somewhat similar fashion as Stamkos. But we need to see more.