CHANCE HITS HIS PRIME

hallnugebs

I believe this will be Taylor Hall’s finest season in the NHL, for several reasons. The young man was injured a year ago but several factors have me bullish on his immediate and long term future.

PRIME TIME

In January 2010, Gabriel Desjardins wrote a brilliant item that found a player’s peak scoring age was mid-20’s. This was absolutely not the prevailing wisdom but as always Gabriel had done the hard work of running out every ground ball.

  • Desjardins: The peak age is just slightly more than 25.  The peak age actually falls
    at approximately 25 for a wide range of NHL equivalencies for the
    minors.  This is also roughly the same result as you get if you restrict
    your dataset solely to players with careers longer than 200 games and
    you look at the number of NHL games played at each age.  Other methods
    don’t give substantially divergent results – even the most or least
    restrictive datasets result in peaks between age 24 and 26
    . Source

A few years later, Eric Tulsky had another look and added a tweak:

  • Tulsky: One thing that stands out to me is that the peak is shifted slightly
    from the general consensus. Hawerchuk previously found that
    points-per-game peaked at age 25, but it looks like points-per-minute
    peaks at age 24, at least for forward
    s. Source

So we’re in the range of 24 to 25 years old, and with Tulsky’s being the more recent study and the results being similar, let’s go with 24 years old.

Taylor Hall turns 24 in November.

NUMBERS

(5×5/60 via HockeyAnalysis.com)

  • Age 18: 1.57
  • Age 19: 2.13
  • Age 20: 3.04
  • Age 21: 2.79
  • Age 22: 1.91
  • Age 23: ???

Hall’s offense fell off last season due to injury (and the fact he spent some time with lesser linemates as the Nuge—Pouliot—Eberle line became a thing) but he should rebound this year.

USAGE

Todd McLellan uses his top power-play men A LOT (Brent Burns 3:23 on the power play, Patrick Marleau 3:16 with the man advantage) in all possible offensive situations (Joe Pavelski EV 15:18) and his best forwards (Joe Pavelski 20:07) AVERAGE more than a period per game.

If you compare that to Taylor Hall as an Oiler (2:30 a night on the PP and 19 minutes a night) we’re likely to see an added minute overall and substantially more power-play time. That’s a big deal, added at-bats and more opportunities in the scoring zone.

PROJECTIONS

I’m projecting Taylor Hall to score 75 points in 66 games this season (1.14 per game). Source

  • 2010-11 65GP, 22-20-42 0.646
  • 2011-12 61GP, 27-26-43 0.705
  • 2012-13 45GP, 16-34-50 1.11
  • 2013-14 75GP, 27-53-80 1.07
  • 2014-15 53GP, 14-24-38 0.717
  • 2015-16 66GP, 29-46-75 1.14 (Lowetide projection)

Taylor Hall is a splendid NHL player and the only thing that can stop him is injury. Those injuries bit hard last season, I’m betting on Chance to turn things around—with help from an impact center and a quality RW—in 2015-16.