Taylor Hall: Advanced Statistics

Jonathan Willis
October 27 2010 04:01PM

EDMONTON, CANADA - OCTOBER 16: Edmonton Oilers left wing Taylor Hall  warms up before a game against the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome on October 16, 2010 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The Flames beat the Oilers 5-3. (Photo by Dylan Lynch/Getty Images)

By eye, Taylor Hall is an NHL player. This is what I think, and it’s certainly the consensus opinion among editorialists in the mainstream media. Despite that opinion, Hall’s stats line remains underwhelming: seven games played, one point (an assist), and a team-worst minus-4. What do Hall’s underlying numbers suggest?

There are a few different angles we can look at Hall’s season through, but I thought we’d start with even-strength scoring chances, since even those skeptical of advanced statistics seem to find some value in those numbers (correlation to those fancy Fenwick/Corsi calculations notwithstanding). Courtesy of Dennis over at mc79hockey.com:

  • Game One: +8/-3 = +5
  • Game Two: +2/-3 = -1
  • Game Three: +1/-3 = -2
  • Game Four: +3/-5 = -2
  • Game Five: +6/-4 = +2
  • Game Six: +1/-3 = -2
  • Game Seven: +4/-4 = even
  • Totals: +25/-25 = even

“Even” may not sound impressive, but it is; not only is Hall coming out even against NHL caliber opposition, but he’s easily outpacing the team as a whole (they’re a cumulative minus-18 at even-strength through seven games).

Corsi numbers tell a similar story; Hall’s a hair below even by that count but easily leads the team overall, and he’s done it without the advantage of a bunch of offensive zone starts. He’s also been drawing more penalties than he takes in the early going.

Despite all those numbers, the offence hasn’t come yet, either on the power play (where Hall’s getting regular minutes) or at even-strength (where Hall’s 14:05 per night puts him third among forwards). I’m confident that it will, at least at even-strength, and the underlying numbers support that confidence.

Does that mean the Oilers will be right when they choose to keep him up past the nine game mark? Likely it depends on individual perspective – those who value the greatest possible competitive integrity will say yes, while those looking at the Oilers long-term cap situation and prospects for 2010-11 will say no, both with some justification. The former can point to the fact that Hall is ready, while the latter will be disappointed that the Oilers didn’t use Hall’s superficially slow start as an excuse to save some money down the road.

Both should be happy that the first overall pick looks like such a good player so early in his NHL career.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 nate
October 27 2010, 04:05PM
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just give this kid time he will get the puck in soon just let him adjust

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#2 Soft Hands McSteeley - FIST Movement
October 27 2010, 04:06PM
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uhf nate, you gotta FIST THAT!!!

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#3 Skidplate
October 27 2010, 04:10PM
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Soft Hands McSteeley - FIST Movement wrote:

uhf nate, you gotta FIST THAT!!!

d'oh

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#5 DK0
October 27 2010, 04:37PM
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I think the fact that he's even on the scoring chances front, yet -4 in the +/- department shows that the kid is just not getting the bounces right now. Luck always corrects itself. It's only a matter of time.

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#6 The Hall Way
October 27 2010, 05:12PM
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Just saw a piece on TSN about Hall and it compared his 7 game start to other NHL stars. Guys like Stamkos and Thorton had no points at all in their first 7, let alone goals. There is no need to worry.

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#7 striatic
October 27 2010, 05:21PM
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i agree with this analysis. he's already a decent player and at worst an average player on this team.

i don't think that this is all "luck and bad bounces" however. i think he needs to simplify his game in the offensive zone, for example.

but he's certainly not why the team is losing.

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#8 striatic
October 27 2010, 05:31PM
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one thing that's changed in his game since the pre-season and season opener - he used to swoop in on defenders on the forecheck low to the ice with that super wide stance and a really active stick. really unique.

it seems like someone told him not to do it because you don't really see him doing that anymore.

i think he should go back to that style of forecheck. it seemed to get defenders double checking their passing lanes for half a second. i'm wondering if that doesn't slow down the acceleration of the offense somewhat. maybe he should go back to doing that. even if it has no significant impact slowing down the offense, it does seem to be more in his comfort zone.

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#9 OILERSORDEATH
October 27 2010, 05:55PM
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Not worried at all, love how good he looks so far. Not out of place at all. Might be sqeezing the stick a litte to hard, other than that he's gonna be a snipe.

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#10 DoubleJ
October 27 2010, 06:25PM
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I hope they keep him with Eberle they seem to play off each other better then when he's with Cogs and Brule.

I personally think they need to split up Brule and Cogs, but where do you put them.

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#11 @NateInVegas
October 27 2010, 06:38PM
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#4 is just another victim of being a one trick pony winger.

Just like WR in football needing the QB to get them the damn ball.

Is it too late for a mulligan?

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#12 Quicksilver ballet
October 27 2010, 07:13PM
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Wonder how long it'll be before an errant stick or puck removes some of those pearly whites. Taylor looks an awful lot like a young early eighties Mark Messier. Sure hope he has a little bit of that mean streak as well.

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#13 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 27 2010, 07:31PM
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@NateInVegas wrote:

#4 is just another victim of being a one trick pony winger.

Just like WR in football needing the QB to get them the damn ball.

Is it too late for a mulligan?

Yes, Seguins 3 points are crushing Halls 1.

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#14 baggedmilk
October 27 2010, 07:51PM
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@NateInVegas wrote:

#4 is just another victim of being a one trick pony winger.

Just like WR in football needing the QB to get them the damn ball.

Is it too late for a mulligan?

Wow. When he starts putting pucks in the net, you're not allowed cheering. In fact, I want you to start cheering for Calgary. Maybe there's something more on that team for you. Idiot.

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#15 Barry Melrose
October 27 2010, 08:02PM
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"Stamkos is not an nhl player. He is too small." Famous last words. Hall detractors will also look silly by the end of next season. Once he gets on a hot run, he will be a goal scoring machine. He is so small right now, and 18 year old playing against 30 year old men. Its tough out there, but he still looks good.

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#16 nate
October 27 2010, 08:26PM
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i don't thing he has adjusted completely to the speed and the size of NHL defense yet Yes he is getting better but i think he has to see more games to get his way of plays adjusted to the NHL

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#17 DSF
October 27 2010, 08:38PM
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Your "advanced statistics" as usual are bunk Willis,

"Scoring Chances" as plotted by Bruce have no relationship to quality.

They're even less useful than shots on goal since any shot not on goal has ZERO chance of scoring.

Fact of the matter is Hall has 13 shots on goal through 7 games or 1.86 SH/G. That's not good for an offensive player...in fact it's quite sad.

Magnus with far less ice time and inferior linemates leads the Oilers in SOG.

If you allow him a 10 % shooting percentage over 82 games he'll get about 15 goals, if he picks up the pace.

You can try and put lipstick on the pig all you want but the fact of the matter is he's choking.

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#18 PabstBR55
October 27 2010, 08:45PM
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I love panic. It causes stupid people to do stupid things. Like when the stock market takes a big drop, the rubes feel it's "too risky" and sell all their Blue Chips in exchange for safe cash to put under their mattress.

Panic makes people who don't understand all the variables to speak in absolutes like: "He's overrated", or "not able to play with real pro players", etc. In the face of a challenge they revert to the laziness of surface observations and reach conclusions with alarming quickness.

This is what the uninformed are saying about Taylor Hall. Just ignore it. It has no basis in logic, and is spewed by people who don't understand the intricacies of development.

Panic is also what allows smart people the fleece the panic'ers. Take advantage of their confusion and get them to turn over their life savings for some canned vegetables and a cement shelter 4 ft beneath ground.

A smart GM should always be on the lookout for a rube. Like Milbury, or any guy who might just do something desperate to keep his job. Dial (613)Bryan Murray and see what good stuff he's willing to part with in exchange for our spare parts. I like that Foligno kid.

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#19 PabstBR55
October 27 2010, 08:52PM
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DSF wrote:

Your "advanced statistics" as usual are bunk Willis,

"Scoring Chances" as plotted by Bruce have no relationship to quality.

They're even less useful than shots on goal since any shot not on goal has ZERO chance of scoring.

Fact of the matter is Hall has 13 shots on goal through 7 games or 1.86 SH/G. That's not good for an offensive player...in fact it's quite sad.

Magnus with far less ice time and inferior linemates leads the Oilers in SOG.

If you allow him a 10 % shooting percentage over 82 games he'll get about 15 goals, if he picks up the pace.

You can try and put lipstick on the pig all you want but the fact of the matter is he's choking.

Excellent point, DSF.

To support your analysis, Patrick O'Sullivan averaged over 2.5 SPG last year because no matter where you take them from, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take, right?

Stats and analysis are for rubes. Well breaks over, back to our jobs at 7-11.

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#20 Archaeologuy
October 27 2010, 09:05PM
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@DSF

Surprise. Willis writes an article and DSF comes hating. Didnt see that one coming.

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#21 AL
October 27 2010, 09:11PM
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I just love to watch him play. He is very aggressive on the puck and he is a fun skater to watch. Reminds me a bit of the way Messier skated. Hopefully the coaching on this team is good enough to help keep this kids confidence up while he struggles to get points.

AL

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#22 andrewmk20
October 27 2010, 09:11PM
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@DSF

Do you even watch the games? He's not choking. He's playing like an 18 year old kid. He's shown flashes of brilliance with his speed and dangling ability and has also been hesitant and made some bad plays with the puck. This is why it's called growing pains. Would you say Seguin is also choking as he only has 3 points on the year and hasn't really made a significant impact on his club either. Also it's 7 games into the season.

Please take all the idiots off ON Jeebus because they give me a headache.

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#23 DSF
October 27 2010, 09:17PM
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andrewmk20 wrote:

Do you even watch the games? He's not choking. He's playing like an 18 year old kid. He's shown flashes of brilliance with his speed and dangling ability and has also been hesitant and made some bad plays with the puck. This is why it's called growing pains. Would you say Seguin is also choking as he only has 3 points on the year and hasn't really made a significant impact on his club either. Also it's 7 games into the season.

Please take all the idiots off ON Jeebus because they give me a headache.

Yeah I watch the games.

He's in over his head.

Seguin is too although he's outscoring Hall 3-1 with far less ice time.

3-1 over 82 games is huge.

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#24 DSF
October 27 2010, 09:18PM
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@Archaeologuy

Willis writes a bunch of crap and someone calls him on it.

Did you see that coming?

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#25 OilFan
October 27 2010, 09:31PM
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No need to hate on Willis for taking the time and effort to put out an article. I like Hall and he will get his goals who cares about Seguin.

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#26 Archaeologuy
October 27 2010, 09:32PM
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@DSF

The only one writing a bunch of crap here is you.

What did you call him on? Advanced stats?

""Scoring Chances" as plotted by Bruce have no relationship to quality.

They're even less useful than shots on goal since any shot not on goal has ZERO chance of scoring."

What a ridiculous thing to believe. Scoring chances have no relationship with quality? That's exactly what they're related to. You dont get a scoring chance credited to you for throwing a weak wrister from the blue-line at the goalie. You will get one if you take a one-timer that hits the post. That's 1 shot for wrister, 0 shots for one-timer that barely missed.

I get that you THINK you're calling Willis on weak stuff, but all you've done is discredit the advanced stats with no good reason. Then you follow up that with an opinion on Hall that hasnt been supported by a single other credible source. Just find me one person in the know who has watched the kid play that believes he has been over his head.

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#27 chappy
October 27 2010, 09:37PM
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LOLOMG 7 GAMES 1 PT HE'S A BUST

Continue breathing. It'll be okay.

How many points would Hall need to have through seven games in order to keep everyone happy? 3? 5? 11?

He's got seven games of NHL experience under his belt. Seven.

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#28 Woodguy
October 27 2010, 09:46PM
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DSF wrote:

Your "advanced statistics" as usual are bunk Willis,

"Scoring Chances" as plotted by Bruce have no relationship to quality.

They're even less useful than shots on goal since any shot not on goal has ZERO chance of scoring.

Fact of the matter is Hall has 13 shots on goal through 7 games or 1.86 SH/G. That's not good for an offensive player...in fact it's quite sad.

Magnus with far less ice time and inferior linemates leads the Oilers in SOG.

If you allow him a 10 % shooting percentage over 82 games he'll get about 15 goals, if he picks up the pace.

You can try and put lipstick on the pig all you want but the fact of the matter is he's choking.

1) Its not Bruce tallying scoring chances, its Dennis

2) More useful than shots as it rates the shot on whether or not it was an actual scoring chance

3) Choking? 7 games into a career? He looks 18 years old because he's 18 years old.

4) "3-1 over 82 games is huge."

Care to wager on that ratio at the end of 82 games?

If we can find someone that we both agree upon to escrow, I'm willing to wager on it.

Care to put your $ where your mouth is?

Will check thread in morning for response

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#29 Shapeman
October 27 2010, 09:48PM
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DK0 wrote:

I think the fact that he's even on the scoring chances front, yet -4 in the +/- department shows that the kid is just not getting the bounces right now. Luck always corrects itself. It's only a matter of time.

"Luck always corrects itself. It's only a matter of time"

Tell that to Patty O'Sullivan

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#30 RossCreekNation
October 27 2010, 10:11PM
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As a Seguin-supporter (don't confuse that for a Hall-hater), I find it absurdly early to be proclaiming Taylor Hall as "choking", "disappointing" or "a bust".

Relax yourself, let your conscience be free... Breathe

---~

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#31 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 27 2010, 10:14PM
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@RossCreekNation

I keep hearing about guys getting on Halls back without actually seeing it.... now, thanks to DSF... I've seen it.

Thank you.

Edit: Not supposed to be directed at RC

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#32 Ryan14
October 28 2010, 12:04AM
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Nate: Say for arguments sake Hall becomes a damn fine player. Are you going to stand by your opinion of Hall being a bust, or are you going to be at the front of the bandwagon claiming you were "beside him all along despite all the haters," and wear your #4 jersey while you erotically asphyxiate yourself a la David carradine and Kenny McCormick.

Just curious on what your stance is.

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#33 TigerUnderGlass
October 28 2010, 12:24AM
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DSF wrote:

Your "advanced statistics" as usual are bunk Willis,

"Scoring Chances" as plotted by Bruce have no relationship to quality.

They're even less useful than shots on goal since any shot not on goal has ZERO chance of scoring.

Fact of the matter is Hall has 13 shots on goal through 7 games or 1.86 SH/G. That's not good for an offensive player...in fact it's quite sad.

Magnus with far less ice time and inferior linemates leads the Oilers in SOG.

If you allow him a 10 % shooting percentage over 82 games he'll get about 15 goals, if he picks up the pace.

You can try and put lipstick on the pig all you want but the fact of the matter is he's choking.

Did you believe Stamkos was choking when he had 15 shots on goal and zero points after the same seven game sample?

I'd like to get in on your bet with Woodguy as well if you do decided to put up.

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#34 PerryK
October 28 2010, 01:09AM
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@NateInVegas wrote:

#4 is just another victim of being a one trick pony winger.

Just like WR in football needing the QB to get them the damn ball.

Is it too late for a mulligan?

Is there a negative "props" button some where?

What are you watching, man! Or, are you just trying to get a reaction?

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#35 pelhem grenville
October 28 2010, 05:56AM
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"...Care to put your $ where your mouth is?..."

If i were a betting man, i'd want some of that action as well...this word 'choking' has only REALLY been applied where it's deserved in the world...of course with David Carradine (who's Kenny McCormick) but mostly and you are probably too young to know this but the big C on the chests of the team south of here?it REALLY stands for "choke" not Calgary. DSF (must stand for DUMB STUPID FRIEND)you sir,are blind, deluded & maybe drunk all the time...you are horribly mistaken in using that word in the same sentence as Taylor Hall.Are you just being ignorant on purpose? People get how simple-minded you must be making that statement. How is it possible,in your myopic view, that this kid is choking at this point in time? In the face of logic you can only come up with "choking"?...the #1 Pick, 18 year old Taylor Freaking Hall? And you say you're watching the games? MY 'advanced stats' show you as quite sad...please get some help.soon. and save up some money cuz you'll need lots to pay off your bet if you have the guts to as Woodguy sez put your $ money where your cake hole is.

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#36 Oilcruzer
October 28 2010, 06:38AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Wonder how long it'll be before an errant stick or puck removes some of those pearly whites. Taylor looks an awful lot like a young early eighties Mark Messier. Sure hope he has a little bit of that mean streak as well.

Yep. There were a lot of early games where Messier was going so hard that he beat Anderson and put the line offside. Rod Phillips would go "that's another offside for messier, does this kid get it?"

He kinda figured it out.

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#37 The Real Scuba Steve
October 28 2010, 07:15AM
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@Jonathan Willis

Don't forget he is playing on the worst team in the league.

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#38 jr_christ
October 28 2010, 07:59AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Yes, Seguins 3 points are crushing Halls 1.

Yeah, not to mention Hall is playing for the 2009 30th place team while Seguin is playing with a team that went to the Eastern finals last year.

Good comparision, Nate.

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#39 jr_christ
October 28 2010, 08:08AM
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@ DSF

Haha... thank-you. I haven't laughed like that in quite a while. I love how your comments are based purely on...oh right... NOTHING.

Instead of providing a solid arguement, with supporting stats, you simply just state your opinion on how scoring chances don't lead to anything.

If you graph scoring chances vs. goals scored for each team - i would bet there is a VERY strong positive correlation between the two. Obviously there are going to be outliers - but statistically speaking we expect to see that.

Further, what's wrong if he only gets 15 goals this year?

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#40 Zamboni Driver
October 28 2010, 08:45AM
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A) Hall will be fine, and is going nowhere.

B) Hall has no numbers. So we make up some that make sense to no one that lives outside his parent's basement - or certainly matters to only them.

Riveting.

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#41 6 ring circus
October 28 2010, 09:04AM
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The only reason he has not produced is because of the number 4 jersey,he is carrying around K lowes bad Kharma.If he had any number but 4, I could see him have about 10 points , 5 goals and 5 assists quite easily :) Anyone watching Hall play can see he is a player and will be a star one day in this league.

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#42 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 28 2010, 09:20AM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

A) Hall will be fine, and is going nowhere.

B) Hall has no numbers. So we make up some that make sense to no one that lives outside his parent's basement - or certainly matters to only them.

Riveting.

The fact that you can't even piece together scoring chances for vs against really makes someone wonder how you are able to even function in society.

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#43 traktor
October 28 2010, 09:26AM
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In other news Bill Sweat has 2 assists in 6 AHL games - DSF argued he is a better prospect than MPS.

I'm with you almost always DSF but when it comes to Hall you are dead wrong.

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#44 traktor
October 28 2010, 09:28AM
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Oiler fans would make Barry Melrose proud.

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#45 traktor
October 28 2010, 09:29AM
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Agreed that Willis' numbers are bunk though.

Always are.

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#46 traktor
October 28 2010, 09:31AM
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I mean Willis tried to prove with his numbers that Shawn Horcoff is a better player than Ryan Getzlaf.

Said he wouldn't trade Horc straight up for Ryan G.

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#47 VMR
October 28 2010, 09:47AM
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I dont know that advanced stats are bunk but it's funny how they say exactly the same thing anyone who's watched him play haved said. He looks good but isnt getting the results yet. Is it a concern, not yet and past performances suggest he's on a learning curve but it's still impossible to know how good he ends up being.

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#48 madjam
October 28 2010, 10:39AM
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Right on schedule - Hall breaks out with multi point game today ! Onward and upward , cashing in on all that talent he has .

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#49 jr_christ
October 28 2010, 10:57AM
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Willis' stats are not bunk. The are stats which are used by NHL executives to determine which players are playing outside of the simple points mark.

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#50 jr_christ
October 28 2010, 10:58AM
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I guess it would be like someone teaching a grade 6 math class about integration. The grade 6 student would obviously find it "bunk" (which is also a grade 6 word) becaus they don't understand it's applicability.

Great article, Willis.

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