There's a really good chance Taylor Hall will remain in this spot for the next six years. It makes me feel bad for the person that has to write this article when he's 23 years old. I don't need to write flowery prose to describe how the young man from Kingston is progressing, everyone's seen it, everyone knows it. What interests me the most is just how good he's going to be when those articles are published.
Shortly after last year's draft, I took a stab at projecting Taylor Hall's rookie year point totals. Using no established methodology except an average of like players, recent history predicted Hall would total 22 G - 28 A - 50 P in 79 games, or .633 points per game. Unfortunately for Hall, his season-ending ankle injury prevented him from playing in 79 games. He did however, total 22 G - 20 A - 42 P in 65 games, or .646 points per game. That's not a bad prediction, if I do say so myself.
One area where Hall's numbers lagged was power play points. Hall scored 8 goals and added 3 assists on the power play and his 11 points were well below the 17 the comparable group averaged - the infamous Oilers' power play strikes again. Whereas Patrick Kane totaled 39% of his points on the power play, Steve Stamkos 37%, John Tavares 46% and Matt Duchene 38%, Hall's power play production accounted for only 23% of his point total. A competent power play gives Hall's points totals plenty of room to improve without Hall improving individually.
Comparing Hall's per game rates to the aforementioned peer group is eye-opening:
He's obviously not Sidney Crosby (who is?) but he's right in the midst of the Duchene, Tavares, Stamkos group. A better power play gets him clear of the entire group and right in behind Patrick Kane. His goals per game rate is even more encouraging. Toss out the season in which Jordan Staal shot a ridiculous 22% and Hall is the best non-Crosby goal scorer in the group. Wow.
How good was Hall's rookie season compared to other young players in recent history? Since 2000-01, only 25 players under the age of 20 have posted a season with a better points rate:
Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos, Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Anze Kopitar, Patrice Bergeron, Patrick Kane, Simon Gagne, Marian Gaborik, John Tavares, Nicklas Backstrom, Jonathan Toews, Matt Duchene, Jeff Skinner, Brad Richards, Vincent Lecavalier, Jason Spezza, Rick Nash, Martin Havlat, Ryan Getzlaf, Peter Mueller, Wojtek Wolski, Nathan Horton
Since 2000-01, only 16 players under the age of 20 have posted a season with a better goals rate:
Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos, Rick Nash, Ilya Kovalchuk, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jonathan Toews, Simon Gagne, Nathan Horton, Anze Kopitar, Marian Gaborik, Jeff Skinner, Patrice Bergeron, John Tavares, Jordan Staal, Radim Vrbata
Every time Scott holds a vote, Patrick Marleau and Mike Modano lead balloting, usually on playing style. Add those two to the group listed above and Hall's comparable future is blinding.
Hall barged, banged and exploded into a group full of superstars and he has two more seasons to pass most of the players in that group. The Kingston Cannonball's goal music is going to blare quite often in the next five seasons.