Hall of a thing

Taylor Hall has hit a totally different level this season. The Edmonton Oilers are one team with him on the ice, they’re a completely different team when he’s sitting on the bench.

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The Chart

The chart above lays out the numbers behind Hall’s performance, and shows the wide gap between the Oilers with him on and off the ice. The dark blue line represents Hall, and hovers around the 55% mark – meaning that 55% of all even-strength scoring chances with Hall on the ice are going the Oilers’ way. That might not sound impressive, but the Canucks won the Presidents’ Trophy last year scoring only 54% of the even-strength goals in their games. It’s an outstanding clip.

This is particularly true when compared to the rest of the Oilers’ roster. The Oilers, needless to say, are not the 2011-12 Vancouver Canucks at even-strength. They’re hanging around the 40% mark on the season (counting only games Hall has played in), meaning the rest of the lineup generates two scoring chances to every three for the opposition.

Hall’s line has been especially good over the last eight games. With him on the ice at even-strength, the Oilers have out-chanced the opposition 53-28 over that span; with anyone else on the ice they’ve been out-chanced 76-50. Anybody watching the games has seen a dominant performance; the numbers just show how dominant he’s been.

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He’s the first first

The player Taylor Hall is at 21 is something very special, and as the oldest of the group of first overall draft picks it shouldn’t be a surprise that he was the first one to really have a breakthrough campaign. The best news for the Oilers is that there’s more to come. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins turns 20 this week; he’s already an exceptional player (and better this year than last, despite the superficial drop in points) and there’s good reason to think more is on the way. Nail Yakupov won’t turn 20 until October, and he’s just a hair shy of Hall’s scoring pace as a rookie despite being more of a raw player than Hall was as at the same point in his career. It’s probably fair to say we haven’t even scratched the surface of what he will be capable of doing in his prime.

There are things to worry about with this team. Hall isn’t one of them. And while each of these first overall picks is a unique player with his own set of skills – nobody knows at this juncture which one will end up as the best of the lot – in my books it would be nuts to move any of them without first finding out just how good they can be.

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  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    Hall is definitely the offensive catalyst not only on the team but on his line too.

    But you have to give RNH a little more credit. Ebs too, just not as much. Look at Hall’s scoring chances when he didn’t play with those guys. Especially when he played with Hemsky and *insert any center here*.

    • I give both Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins a lot of credit. Both are very good hockey players; and I think Nugent-Hopkins has the chance to be something very special.

      Which makes the fact that Hall’s the best player on his line even more impressive.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    Good read Willis, with all the gloom and doom it’s hard to remember just how good, and how young some of these kids are, and where the might be in the following years.

    What impresses me most is Hall’s work ethic and compete level. He’s just always doing something every shift. If we can sort out our second line, this is going to be such a dangerous team.

      • bwar

        Ha, I was actually typing something very similar and thought about where that comment was going to lead and decided not to go there again today. But since you brought it up. See if trading Gags to Philly for Coturier gets it done, then see what kind of Hemsky package you need for Yandle.

        Is that completely unrealistic to think we could trade a smaller skill centre who is having a great year, for a larger less skilled centre who is struggling. And would we want to do that. And seriously, Yandle, just make it happen already. He’s been top ten in defensive scoring for a few years now. What is it going to take to get this guy?

        Or a more simple solution it to trade Hemsky for a bigger power forward LW, then move Yak to RW. I know we currently have 2 of those guys in Harti and Magnus, but for all their development I just don’t think they’re there yet.

      • Clyde Frog

        Missing one big winger for the second line. Get rid of Hemsky and roll 91-57-56 as the 3rd line. Who cares about the 4th. Have a good 2nd pairing. 5-2 , missing a #2 dman. Already have a future #1 (19). So missing lots still but don’t act like there not getting closer. Also have a #1 goalie alrrady

  • bwar

    Plain and simple Hall is a winner. He works harder than any other Oiler and you can see his drive to compete and win. I hope he gets the C next year and finally leads the Oil to the next level.

  • bwar

    Lowe has had this team for a long time , he has been in perpetual rebuilding mode. Look what he has accomplished this team is barely a NHL team.

    Lowe is suppose to have some skill as president. He has failed. There are no excuses.

    How is that for constructive?

  • bwar

    Oh Hallsy…how I love thee, let me count the ways…

    He is my fav on this team…ah, but I love Nuge too. I dunno…I’m so confused. Is it ok to love them both?

    Wanye can keep Eberle, even though I’ve loved him too.

    Oh and Schultz and Yak too.

  • Clyde Frog

    Too bad Hall is a winger and can’t have an impact.

    Everyone knows you only draft centres…

    Oh well hopefully we can fix this issue with a new GM sometime soon!

  • Clyde Frog

    I think Hemsky has been offered around the trade deadline, but the only GM that thinks this is a $5 million dollar player is Lowe.

    Keep in mind, no team is going to give you better, and bigger players for something less, especially if that something less has a bad contract.

    Oilers will be forced to overpay Gagner now that they are over paying Hemsky.

    Hemsky should be traded to the Show On Ice, that is all he is good for.

    • I’m getting very angry right now at how Lowe gets bashed for everything but Tambellini gets a free ride.

      Tambellini signed that contract. The contract Hemsky signed for 6 years was Howson.

      This Lowe hatred has got to stop. LOWE DID NOT SIGN THAT CONTRACT. IT WAS TAMABLLINI.

      Lowe resigned as GM because fans constantly bashed him and Katz saw that.

      • What planet do you live on? Everyone bashes Lowe and Tambellini. As as far as going “Lowe didnt signed Hemsky’s contract” then going “Lowe didnt sign the last one either” is most rediculous thing ever. Basically you are giving credit to Lowe for things you considered “good” but if it was bad then “someone else signed the sheet of paper, Lowe had nothing to do with it” Or are you just trying to say Lowe never did anything.

        Yeesh, you do not know how much or how little Lowe has to do in these decisions so stop pretending like you do. Even if Lowe gets bashed more its for things he did before Tambellini rolled around, say Horcoff’s contract.

        Also, you are wrong about what Gregor said in terms of Yak for Clarkson. He never suggested the oilers pull the trigger on that trade but said in a year or two a trade of that ilk will have to be made to improve the team. He also didnt say Yak for Clarkson straight up, the hypothetical deal was Yak for Clarkson +++

  • The Worrier

    And while each of these first overall picks is a unique player with his own set of skills – nobody knows at this juncture which one will end up as the best of the lot – in my books it would be nuts to move any of them without first finding out just how good they can be.


    What would it take to land a player like a Gaborik (just an example)by making a deal like CBJ did. Without giving up a Hall, RNH, Yak or Ebs? I think Yakukov will be a goal scorer in this league and I would hate to see him packaged off in a deal. But I know quality players have to be given up to get something in return.

  • Clyde Frog

    Yes, that is my worry. There are some serious holes in this lineup. It would be very easy to throw one of these former-1st overalls (likely Yakupov) to get a deal done. But that would be a mistake. Yakupov is one of those pure goal scorers that not every team has. That PP goal he scored against Calgary, he one timed a saucer pass from Gagner before the puck even touched the ice and scored from the mid-slot. Was it luck? I don’t think so. We’ve seen Yakupov score a few goals with the puck floating in the air so I would chalk it up to irreplacable talent. Fix the team but these kids should be untouchable.

  • The Worrier

    Hemsky on this team has negatively impacted the growth of both Yaks and Gagner.

    Good individual player………….but has not yet caught on to team play. Hemsky does go the the tough area but does not always need to if he is playing a team game.

    We could have moved this player on the trade deadline, but Mr. Dithers did nothing, and will do more of the same this summer. Nothing will change with this team until Lowe and Tamby are moved out…….pathetic management at best.

    • 2004Z06

      You couldnt have said it any better, your assesment is bang-on. MPS is the LARGE, FAST, DETERMINED, DEFENSIVE,SPACE CREATING,high% zone entry specialist we need with Gagner and Nail.

      Hemsky belongs on the 3rd line as a zone entry specialist and opportunistic scorer who can carry the puck all night long and be helping the old dogs who would prefer to sit by the fire and let Hemmer cart the bone around not hurting the Kids by monopolising their creative puck possesion time.

      There is a tragic lack of Intuative Dynamic Analysis, Assesment, and Managment present in and around the Oilers organisation. We are terminally short of this rare and difficult to obtain OR manufacture resource.

      Taylor Hall needs to be micro-managed by a strong dynamic managerial influence as a going concern. We all need to realise he is a tool for Nuge and nothing more, if we let him run wild he will only stunt Nuges development and his lines potential. he can dominate games but not consistantly, ever, his style will never allow him to manage a team through an 82 game season and playoffs, that is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins deep-water territory, not Taylor Hall territory. Nuge needs to pick the fights and Hall needs to finish them.

      Halls recent points explosion happened because of toneing his game DOWN not UP. He has begun sharing the dynamic opportunitys differently than he was earlier this year, the entire line is being managed differently {NHS style}.
      Allowing both Ebbs and Nuge to share in the opportunitys equally finally.

      Taylor Hall is still very much a work in progress and I have a very serious potential issue with him I cant discuss because it is a trade secret, suffice to say I would trade Hall for Nash in a heartbeat,look for it next year.

      • StHenriOilBomb

        Bahahahahahahahaha! You’re hilarious. I hope you never stop your 400 word pontifications.

        Intuative Dynamic Analysis?

        “There is a tragic lack of Intuative Dynamic Analysis, Assesment, and Managment present in and around the Oilers organisation. We are terminally short of this rare and difficult to obtain OR manufacture resource.” – what does this even mean? Is Intuitive Dynamic Analysis a resource? Really?

        Trade secrets? HA!

        Seriously, you’re the funniest read on here every day. And the best part is that you actually think you’re a genius!

        Bahahahahahaha! I think I just peed myself.

        ps: Use a spell-check. It will make you look less like a boob.

    • Oilers are still getting bashed for drafting Hall instead of Seguin.

      Prior to the 2010 draft, in the “Ask Matty” section in the EJ, someone mentioned that if the Oilers draft Hall instead of Seguin, it would be the biggest mistake in Oilers history. This person said that Seguin was the big centre the Oilers needed. Funny how Seguin is playing right wing with Boston.

  • Light, Sweet, Crude

    In a couple years, barring anymore managerial sabotage, I would like to see a line of Hall – Nuge – Yak. That line could have some serious jam when they are all in their prime, and they’re already ours, ALL OURS!

    PS. No one need remind me how almost everything sucks right now.

  • Clyde Frog

    Anyone who says package Yakupov, give your head a shake…

    No-one trades first overall’s in the past decade, especially when they have their best years ahead…


    Go look at the trades involving top 3 draft picks (Who aren’t D-men)…

  • His new contract is going be a bargain. On nights where this team is completely lost, he gives you hope that we can win. He has really become a complete player this season with his commitment to improving his passing.

    As he and the other wonder kids get experience, the team will improve. It’s really about how good we get. Management needs to address the obvious holes in this team.

    • I wouldn’t and not to knock Seth Jones, but because I love the yak. Also I think defensemen are very hard to project (think Chris Philips or Erik Johnson) once they reach the NHL. Yak is a full year ahead of Jones in development and we didn’t have to throw him on the top line, we are able to let him sink in and figure it out a little slower…where Jones would be our top pairing dman right off the bat. If we win the draft lotto I take him #1 over MacKinnon or anyone else, but I don’t think I’d trade Yak for him. Yak is projecting to be one hell of a good scorer, with darn good playmaking abilities (would be able to see those if he wasn’t on a line with Horcoff and Smyth). His positioning and backchecking require a little work, but Yak is a full year ahead in terms of that work than Jones is.

  • 2004Z06

    Iginla was a great player too. Management failed to put a decent team around him and how did that turn out?

    If management doesn’t start building a better group around him, he will either request a trade or whither on the vine like Iginla did.

  • StHenriOilBomb

    I don’t believe in intangibles. Why Hall is so amazing is completely tangible – he is a highly skilled player who has unusual drive to win.

    Hall doesn’t like to be beaten. He wins the majority of his one on one battles. He takes the play to the opponent, hard, all the time.

    If Gagner had 75% of Hall’s drive he’d be 85% of Crosby.

    This is what separates the “highly skilled player” from the “great player”. It is a known quantity. Gagner joke aside, it is what makes Crosby who he is – he tries harder, plays harder, trains harder than anyone else, and he’s very skilled to boot.

    I wish the Oilers had never heard the word intangibles so that they would be able to focus on compete level and skill only. Intangibles confuses them into liking “character guys” that play rough.

    Lazar is a perfect example of this. He is tough, gritty, they love him, and the chances of him being more than an NHL 4th liner are slim because of his limited offense. They would love him first round, yikes!

    Gotta aim the sights a little higher boys, get this other than first overall draft thing figured.

  • French Toast Mafia

    I could see it Oilers find out where they are drafting talk to NJ Devils . Devils have an excess of high potential D-men. They need scoring , Oilers need a D-man and depending where they draft , Adam Larsson would be a great trade.

    I would be surprised if NJ would do it.