One of the more interesting trends in the discussion over our Top 25 Under 25 was the fan push for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins over Taylor Hall at #1. While Nugent-Hopkins had a nice rookie season, Taylor Hall is a force of nature. The amount of shots and chances the Oilers generate with him on the ice is amazing, especially considering he's only 20 years old.
Especially compelling is Hall's ability to tilt the ice in the Oilers' favor when he's on the ice. On to the (in)famous bubble charts!
The horizontal axis shows qualcomp ordinal rank amongst forward teammates, specifically Corsi relative quality of competition taken from Gabriel Desjardins' behindthenet.ca. The vertical axis shows Corsi relative quality of teammates, specifically the ordinal rank amongst forward teammates. The bubbles are color-coded: blue represents a positive zonestart-adjusted Corsi, red a negative. Finally, the size of the bubble indicates absolute value zonestart-adjusted Corsi.
Hall's first two seasons have been better than everyone on the list except for Gabriel Landeskog. Landeskog's rookie season was stunning (I can't stand that Pierre has made "monstrous" a no-go, because it's perfect in this situation.) and a similar sophomore season would position Landeskog as one of the best forwards in the league.
Back to Hall for a moment. Remember that the chart is measuring ordinal rank. Hall played with very good teammates for someone playing in Edmonton, but Edmonton was the 30th and 29th best team in the league in these two seasons. Basically, everyone else on this chart played with better teammates, yet Hall is posting results comparable to anyone on the list and better than nearly everyone on the list.
What impresses me the most is Hall's year-over-year improvement. He kept the same high level of competition, but his adjusted Corsi improved by 5 SA/60, kept generating chances, shots and goals.
To state all of this in a much simpler manner: Taylor Hall is the best young player to wear an Oilers' sweater since Mark Messier roamed the ice at Northlands Coliseum.