There is nothing more intoxicating for Oilers fans than watching Taylor Hall in full flight. The opposition tightens, sphincters all in a row, as he descends into the zone like a tornado on ice. “Chance” on the fly is as good as it gets. This season, Chance did not pass go as he had in the past, the team’s best pilot grounded by injury and frustration and subpar mates from time to time. It was a miserable waste of talent.
RE 14-15: 73GP, 33-50-83 1.14
ACTUAL 14-15: 53gp, 14-24-38 .717
- What happened? Hall was hurt quite a bit this season. He started well (9 points in his first 10 games) and ended well (9 points in his final 12 games) but the middle (31GP, 20 points) wasnt Hall-level scoring.
- Was there anything good? Sure. Hall’s possession stats are back to solid, but he didn’t have the usual touch.
- Why? Well, he was injured a few times. He missed six games in November with a strained MCL; missed three games late January with a leg injury and then came back for one game, got hurt (extension of the previous injury) and lost 20 more. He was gone all of February and most of March.
- Any other issues? He played on a line with Tyler Pitlick for 54 minutes, that wasn’t terribly productive, 87 with Andrew Miller, really a lot of time with young players who aren’t going to be helpful in the Hall minutes.
- Plus he played center. Bad move. I actually thought he looked good there and still think it was a good idea. I look back on the first time he tried, when Eakins placed him there, and wonder if things would have worked better if he’d stuck with it.
- Hall didn’t like it. Yes, and it’s not going to work if he’s not willing. I’d still re-visit the idea if I were Todd Nelson or Todd McLellan. Maybe the time between will have changed Hall’s position on things.
- How good IS Hall? He is still a match for John Tavares, marching in lock-step—but our man Taylor is developing an injury history. In his first five seasons in the NHL, Taveres went 350GP, 136-179-315 (.900) and now five years in Hall is 299GP, 106-157-263 (.880). It’s still on par, but Hall has played 51 fewer games, 10 a year. That’s a lot. Taylor Hall is an impact player, a revelation and he’s doing it against the toughest division in the infantry. He’s all-world. I love the guy. He needs to stay healthy.
- How good is he without using math? Hall’s touched by God, there are things we say about him we’d never say about another player (Hall’s 1.97/60 at 5×5 is a disappointment—we wouldn’t say that about anyone else) because our expectations of him are so very high—as they should be.
- You used a little math. Okay. This.
- Should they trade him? Oh God no. That’s the hill I die on.
- You have to give in order to get. I want you to imagine a bell curve that would describe a career. From youth through maturity to erosion to dust.
- Got it. Okay. Plot a line that starts at 42 on the first heading, then 53, then 86 (estimate of shortened season), 80 and then 38. NOW imagine that we know from history (and we do) that this graph still has room to grow over the next four or five years, before slowly descending. That’s why you don’t trade Taylor Hall. You’re trading an asset that has yet to peak and the asset is really freaking good now! The part of the graph you can see is reaching for the heavens and you’re not halfway across the page. No sir. I’ve earned the rest of that page, Goddamit.
- This year was a downer though. Sure, and injuries are going to be in the back of our collective minds from here out. We’ve seen too many missed games to ever be comfortable again in my opinion. I’ve placed a summary of Hall’s injuries at the bottom of this RE, the list is 9 strong now and that’s a lot.
- I think you’re making too much of it. Yeah, maybe. It seemed like more, but still he’s missed 51 more games than Tavares. I’d need to see him healthy for two seasons before relaxing on the injury worry. It’s a thing now, not Wendel Clark level but it’s there all the same.
- Did he improve under Nelson? At 5×5, he was 32GP, 5-10-15 (.469) through 27 December and 21, 6-11-17 (.810) afterwards. That’s significant improvement but sample size is an issue for sure. At 5×4, he was 32GP, 3-2-5 through Dec 27 and 21GP, 0-1-1 afterwards.
- Huh. So much better under Nelson at evens but not much on the PP? Nelson’s PP was running wild when Hall returned, I don’t think he played a huge amount 5×4 and certainly not on the 1PP. I remember him saying that he didn’t want to bugger up a good thing.
- Nelson shows well in some areas here, Nuge PP and Hall evens. Yes.
- What was the Nuge split again? This came in the comments section of the Nuge RE yesterday, via LinkfromHyRule: It is worth noting the splits for the 5×4/60 numbers: Before Eakins Firing: 2.2 5×4/60; Post Eakins Firing (Dec. 16 forward): 5.5 5×4/60.
- What does this mean? I think the sample size is small but the numbers are what they are. Hall played well after December 27 (when healthy) and Nuge was very good 5×4 after the change. Sample size suggests we not overreact but there did appear to be clean air and open road in 2015. We’ll examine this more during the Eakins and Nelson RE’s.
- You’re doing one for each? I can’t imagine doing it any other way. The Eakins RE will probably be the most commented one, that’s my guess anyway.
- Eakins gets Whipping Post? We’ll see. You could use that song for damn near every coach and executive.
- Why this song for Hall? It’s the easiest choice I’ll make in this series. Hall is the central hero in the story of these Oilers, but he’s also a lone wolf and an outsider. The song is about a loner who’s on the run, who keeps running into obstacles but won’t let anything get him down. He hangs on to one more silver dollar (a distant bell, a beautiful memory, a reminder of where he’s from and why he is determined to return) which could represent—for our purposes—Stanley. The vocal by Gregg Allman is fantastic and desperate. Man what a song.
HALL’S INJURY HISTORY
- March 5, 2011—suffers ankle injury and misses the remainder of the season.
- November 2011—left shoulder injury, misses 7 games.
- January 2012—head injury, misses two games.
- March 18, 2012—concussion, misses the remainder of the season.
- March 2013—hamstring injury, misses one game.
- November 2013—left knee injury, misses 7 games.
- November 3, 2014—sprained mcl (right knee), misses 6 games.
- January 27, 2015—leg injury, misses 3 games.
- February 24, 2015—leg injury, misses 20 games.