If last season was any indication then Taylor Hall is ready to position himself inside the top ten in NHL scoring in a full 82-game schedule. Granted last season was a lockout shortened campaign, but Hall still managed to produce over a point per game, good enough to finish the year 9th overall in league scoring. He registered 50 points in 45 games last in 2013 so when Scott Cullen of TSN came out with his annual stats projections, it was surprising to see Taylor Hall’s name all the way down the list at number 18.
We’ve said it before on this site, projections are just that and in this case are merely one writer’s opinion. Cullen has Hall set to play in 71 games, scoring 31 goals and adding 41 assists, good for 72 points. Still a point per game average for Hall and yes he’s still in the top-20 in league scoring. But something just doesn’t sit right with these numbers.
The 71 games could be an accurate projection given Hall’s reckless style of play that has led to freak injuries in the past few years. Last season he only missed 3 games all year and with his shoulder 100%, it could be possible to see Hall play closer to 80 games this season. In which case his point totals would climb as would his overall ranking across the league.
If Hall can limit the number of games that he’s forced to miss and suit up in 78-79 games, produce a point per game or slightly better then jumping up into the top ten in league scoring would easily be attainable. At least going by Cullen’s numbers.
Currently Cullen has Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs projected to put up 80 points and ranked in 9th place. Surely Taylor Hall can do that can’t he?
Again, the success of Taylor Hall’s season, which is closely tied to the Oilers success this season, depends on his health. Avoiding the injuries that are such rarities ie: warmup, will be crucial to Hall being in the lineup every day. When he is, this team is obviously better and will result in more wins for the Oilers.
Agree or disagree with Cullen’s projections? Leave your comments below. Be sure to check back daily as we begin our over/under series where we examine the point totals for all Oilers for the upcoming season.