Taylor Hall Rookie Year Projections

I make a dark place before them become light -- Isaiah 42:16

Throughout last season, we tracked the NHL Equivalency of the Oilers' prospects.  NHL Equivalency is useful because if gives us a ballpark of the equivalent production from a player in a league other than the NHL.  NHLE was developed by the irrepressible Gabriel Desjardins of Behindthenet.ca and the outstanding Behind The Net Hockey

Gabe's methodologies are described on his translations page:

One way to evaluate the difficulty of one league relative to another is to examine the relative performance of players who have played in both leagues.  Players rarely play significant time in two leagues in the same year, but they often play in one league in one year and in another the next.  As long as a player’s skill level is approximately constant over this two year period, the ratio of his performance in each league can be used to estimate the relative difficulty of the two leagues.

The projection that all of Edmonton is interested in is that of Taylor Hall.  Hall played for the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL last season.

The difficulty of all three junior leagues is about the same. Also, the difficulty of each junior league with respect to the NHL (~0.30) is the same as the difficulty experienced by players who went from junior to the NHL via the minors, which validates the concept.

I've listed the post-lockout, non-Crosby first overall forward picks below, with their draft year NHLE and their rookie year actual production.  The NHLE calculation certainly does a good job of approximating that number:

 Player Year GP Proj G Proj A Proj P Year GP G A P Patrick Kane 2006 82 26 35 62 2007 82 21 51 72 Steven Stamkos 2007 82 23 19 42 2008 79 23 23 46 John Tavares 2008 82 25 20 46 2009 82 24 30 54 Taylor Hall 2009 82 17 28 45

Also listed is Taylor Hall's NHLE - seventeen goals, twenty-eight assists and forty-five points.  But the NHLE was off by 10-20% on the other three players, so I decided to try a completely unscientific look at the numbers that Taylor Hall may produce.

Remember, this isn't science, or any proven method of projecting performance, but I think the exercise will yield a rough estimate of Hall's expected rookie output.  First, we'll look at post-lockout forwards that have gone first overall:

 Year Player GP G A P PPG PPA PPP PPP% TM G TM A TM P % TM G % TM P 2005 Sidney Crosby 81 39 63 102 16 31 47 46.1% 243 433 676 16.0% 15.0% 2007 Patrick Kane 82 21 51 72 7 21 28 38.9% 234 395 629 9.0% 11.4% 2008 Steven Stamkos 79 23 23 46 9 8 17 37.0% 207 367 574 11.1% 8.0% 2009 John Tavares 82 24 30 54 11 14 25 46.3% 214 367 581 11.2% 9.3% 2010 Taylor Hall 81 23 35 57 9 14 23 40.7% 218 376 594 10.6% 9.6%

The thing that jumps off of the page is the non-Crosby clustering of goal-scoring totals.  Kane, Stamkos and Tavares had a spread of of only three between them over the three years 2007-2009.  I've populated Taylor Hall's stat line with the average except for Crosby, because he's Sidney Crosby and no one else is

Average the non-Crosby's together and Hall projects to a fifty-seven point player, twelve points more than his NHLE.  If he's as good as the others and the the Oilers score 224 goals this season, it's reasonable that he could reach fifty-seven points, especially if he sees significant time on the power play.

One more average to look at is rookie year performance of all top-five forwards drafted since the lockout:

 Year Player GP G A P PPG PPA PPP PPP% TM G TM A TM P % TM G % TM P 2005 Sidney Crosby 81 39 63 102 16 31 47 46.1% 243 433 676 16.0% 15.0% 2006 Jordan Staal 81 29 13 42 4 2 6 14.3% 267 468 735 10.9% 5.7% 2006 Phil Kessel 70 11 18 29 1 4 5 17.2% 210 361 571 5.2% 5.1% 2007 Patrick Kane 82 21 51 72 7 21 28 38.9% 234 395 629 9.0% 11.4% 2008 Steven Stamkos 79 23 23 46 9 8 17 37.0% 207 367 574 11.1% 8.0% 2009 John Tavares 82 24 30 54 11 14 25 46.3% 214 367 581 11.2% 9.3% 2009 Matt Duchene 81 24 31 55 10 11 21 38.2% 237 419 656 10.1% 8.4% 2009 Evander Kane 66 14 12 26 0 0 0 0.0% 230 411 641 6.1% 4.1% 2010 Taylor Hall 79 22 28 50 7 10 17 34.2% 228 396 624 9.4% 9.6%

Take away Crosby because, again, he's and no one else is, and eliminate Evander Kane because the Thrashers chose not to use him on the power play, and the "2010 Taylor Hall" row is an average of the other six top-five forwards from 2006-2009.  Twenty-two goals, twenty-eight assists and fifty points on a team that will score 228 goals and tally 396 assists on the season is a solid projection for Hall's output this season.

In the end, NHLE and these averages show that we can make an eighty-two game projection of 45-60 points buoyed on by twenty-plus goals for the young left wing in his rookie season.  I'll use the two averages here to make a smaller inner band of 50-57 points.

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