The Young Gunz' Success Depends On...

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

They're young, they're exciting, and they don't break even without a cannonball on the ice.

Stop me if you've heard any of these before:

"The Oilers have a true top line."

"Jordan Eberle is better than Taylor Hall."

"Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a true top line centre."

"Jordan Eberle is the best all-around player in Edmonton."

The tone in Edmonton is optimistic, and rightfully so, judging by the young talent grouping they've assembled through six years of ignominy. But certain things said in that optimistic tone aren't quite realistic, as I'll demonstrate below. I took the even strength scoring chance data compiled and published by Dennis King and mc79hockey.com and set to create with or without you (WOWY) analysis of the Hall-Hopkins-Eberle line.

First up is Jordan Eberle, everyone's favorite "sniper". The first section of the table shows his scoring chance percentages without Taylor Hall during his first two seasons in the league. The second section shows his scoring chance percentage without Taylor Hall or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins last season.

Jordan Eberle
Without Hall CF CA CG%
2010-11 93 110 0.458
2011-12 163 163 0.500
Career 256 273 0.484
Without Hall, Hopkins CF CA CG%
2011-12 82 98 0.456

Take away Hall during Eberle's rookie year and Eberle's chance percentage was in the range of Maksim Mayorov. He broke even last year without Hall, but had super rookie Nugent-Hopkins at his side. Take away both Hall and Hopkins and Eberle falls back into Mayorov territory.

Next up is Nugent-Hopkins, who had his rookie season cut short by injury. Below is his chance percentage in his rookie season without Hall or Eberle.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Without Hall, Eberle CF CA CG%
2011-12 31 46 0.403

Oof.

Finally, the freak, the force of nature, the cannonball. The first section of the table shows his scoring chance percentages without Eberle during his first two seasons in the league. The second section shows his scoring chance percentage without Eberle or Hopkins last season.

Taylor Hall
Without Eberle CF CA CG%
2010-11 133 128 0.510
2011-12 179 165 0.520
312 293 0.516
Without Eberle, Hopkins CF CA CG%
2011-12 43 35 0.551

As Sam said to Rebecca, "Ah buah". Hall's underlying numbers, when isolated by this WOWY are ridiculous. The Oilers might have a true top line, but it's a line that hinges on Hall.

There are nice young players in Edmonton, and then there is Taylor Hall. There are some nice young players in the league, and then there is Taylor Hall.

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