By The Numbers - #4 Taylor Hall

Without exception, the name “Taylor Hall” had to be the most uttered phrase within 1000 metres of Rexall Place this past season.

Along with uttering “Taylor Hall” sixteen or seventeen more times,  we’ll take a look at his past season along with a hypothetical glance at next year.

Taylor Hall: Photo courtesy Edmonton Oilers

NAME:  Taylor Hall

SWEATER NUMBER: 4

DOB: 14 NOV 1991 (19)

NUMBERS:  22G-20A-42 PTS, 27 PIM in 65 GP

2010-11 SALARY/CONTRACT: $900,000 (2.75M Bonus), Signed through July 1st, 2013

THE SKINNY

Up until the seconds that Taylor Hall was selected, it very well may have been Tyler Seguin instead.  The Oilers went the way of Taylor Hall, and after his rookie campaign, they can’t be dissatisfied.  Taylor Hall was picked first overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft from the Windsor Spitfires in a year that saw the Spits win the Memorial Cup for the second consecutive year. After a dreadful 2009-10, Hall came to Edmonton with near Gretzky-like expectations for him to rescue a franchise that had been floundering in the standings.

Heavy talk surrounded the Oilers after two or three games as to weather Hall should be kept on the big club for the 2010-11 season.  Should the Oilers spend a year of his eligibility on a team that we already knew would likely be bad?  Should he be sent down?

Eight games into the 2010-11 season, Taylor Hall notched his first goal on a redirect against Steve Mason of the Columbus Blue Jackets.   Hall fell into his groove as the season progressed, and we soon saw brilliance from an 18 year old who had the world thrust upon his shoulders.

As the season progressed (and as the Oilers were again, very bad overall), Taylor Hall began showing his frustration on the ice.  During an 8-2 shellacking at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes, Hall was sat for the remainder of the game (along with Jordan Eberle) after you saw him slam his stick into the glass after a play had been whistled dead.  His aggression culminated with a fight against Columbus’ Derek Dorsett, when Hall was thrown to the ice and he sprained his left ankle.  Hall was out for the remainder of the season, a total of seventeen games.

Taylor Hall is, for all intents and purposes, the face of the future for the Edmonton Oilers.  His selection at first overall in 2010 signalled the ushering of a new era in Edmonton.  In five years, should the franchise succeed or fail on the ice, eyes will turn to him.  It’s a bit of an unfair weight to have on your back, but it comes with the territory of being a number one overall pick – just ask Alexandre Daigle or Patrick Stefan.

WHAT COULD BE NEXT YEAR

Every year is crucial in an entry level contract.  Hall will be on year two of three, and like other first round draft picks, is expected to grow and mature in his second full season in the league. Let’s take a comparison look at some of the recent number ones overall (thanks, HockeyDB.com).

Key to stats:  Games Played, Goals, Assists, Points, PIM, +/-

John Tavares (2009 1st Overall – Islanders)

2009-10 New York Islanders NHL 82 24 30 54 22 -14
2010-11 New York Islanders NHL 79 29 38 67 53 -16

Steven Stamkos (2008 1st Overall – Lightning)

2008-09 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 79 23 23 46 39 -13
2009-10 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 82 51 44 95 38 -2

Patrick Kane (2007 1st Overall – Blackhawks)

2007-08 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 82 21 51 72 52 -5
2008-09 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 80 25 45 70 42 -2

You can see how important year two is for the three recent number ones overall – Both Tavares and Stamkos showed real progress in their second year (95 points for Stamkos!) and Kane’s second year was strikingly similar to his rookie campaign.  Back to back seventy point efforts is a pretty good way to open your playing career in the league.

In that vein, I’d expect Taylor Hall’s second year to do something similar.  If Hall played a complete season in his rookie year, his stats would’ve worked out to about 25G-23A for 48 points.  In 82 games, I think 55-58 points  would be an ideal uptick.  If there’s anything on top of that, it’s just extra gravy on your frites.

Healthy linemates and a healthy Taylor Hall are key to these numbers.  I hadn’t yet considered an upgrade on defence in those figures.

Next player:  #5 Ladislav Smid

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