On December 4, 2010 Taylor Hall took a pass from Ryan Whitney at the start of OT, flew down the wing and scored a goal in seconds.
It was one example of something Taylor Hall does very well even at a young age: gain the offensive zone. Eric Tulsky has been doing a lot of work on the subject and the early results are very interesting:
- Entries with possession produce twice as much offense as entries without possession, and some individuals have a clear talent for gaining the zone.
Using Tulsky’s work and applying it to Hall without evidence is unfair, but young Hall is so good at it (I’d say he rivals Hemsky, who has always been a savant) it seems reasonable to suggest he performs well at the discipline. How well? We’ll need to do some work.
Adding up the numbers will be the real proof, and I’m confident NHL Numbers and others sites will follow Hall whenever the NHL decides to start up the business again. We know he’s a special young player and getting those zone entry numbers a year from now will help turn the photo from B&W to color.
Which brings us to OKC. Hall is looking to get into AHL action in the next couple of weeks, and should he spend the season with the Barons I think we may see some very special numbers. As good as the Nuge is on the PP, as quick a release as Jordan Eberle owns, gaining the zone is an enormous part of the equation.
I don’t know if it is instinct or knowledge or simply a learned skill over years, but the Tulsky possession metric is something I believe Taylor Hall is made for, he’s an ideal player for the discipline.
If he gets to OKC, those possession sorties are going to turn into goals. Often.