What's Next For Taylor Hall?

PEW! PEW! PEW! - Rick Stewart

Hall's first three seasons were in line with some all-time greats. Can he keep it up? What does he have to do to match those greats?

When I looked at Taylor Hall's shot rates yesterday, one of the first questions I received was "now what?" This isn't a scientific study, or an attempt at predicting Hall's shot rates over the next three years, but rather an exercise in examining what happened to his peer group.

Below is a table that shows games played, shots and shots per game data for all forwards since 1967-681 in their first three seasons who were also under the age of 21, minimum of 150 games played2. The table also shows shots per game data for their next three seasons, as well as the percent change in the following three seasons.

Player GP S S/GP S/GP Next 3 Δ
Alex Ovechkin 163 817 5.01 5.76 14.96%
Wayne Gretzky 239 914 3.82 4.40 15.23%
Dale Hawerchuk 239 892 3.73 3.58 -3.93%
Danny Gare 157 577 3.68 3.01 -18.21%
Marcel Dionne 155 550 3.55 4.22 18.82%
Mike Gartner 157 554 3.53 3.67 3.95%
Mario Lemieux 215 752 3.5 4.63 32.21%
Ilya Kovalchuk 227 782 3.44 3.94 14.58%
Sidney Crosby 213 701 3.29 3.50 6.46%
Pierre Larouche 220 718 3.26 2.43 -25.35%
Jason Arnott 184 594 3.23 3.07 -5.07%
Evgeni Malkin 160 514 3.21 3.85 20.07%
Taylor Hall 171 547 3.2 ? ?
Dennis Maruk 160 501 3.13 2.51 -19.71%
Jeff Skinner 188 584 3.11 ? ?
Sylvain Turgeon 216 671 3.11 3.29 5.65%
Wilf Paiement 213 660 3.1 3.47 11.88%
Steven Stamkos3 243 750 3.09 3.54 14.51%
Evander Kane4 213 648 3.04 3.96 30.21%
Eric Lindros 172 521 3.03 3.69 21.83%
Jimmy Carson 240 719 3 2.41 -19.62%
Marian Gaborik 230 680 2.96 3.75 26.78%
John Tavares4 243 715 2.94 3.38 14.80%
Michel Goulet 233 683 2.93 3.35 14.27%
Patrice Bergeron 229 667 2.91 2.47 -15.14%
Wendel Clark 174 503 2.89 2.55 -11.71%
Patrick Kane 244 706 2.89 3.00 3.98%
Bob Carpenter 240 688 2.87 2.62 -8.77%

1The NHL did not start recording player shots data until 1967-68
2all data sourced from Hockey Reference, using their February 1 cut-off for birthdates.
3player has played 2 seasons in "next 3" period
4player has played 1 season
in "next 3" period

The "next 3" results are all over the place, however, the players who suffered a drop in shot rates have one of two things in common, injuries or trades. Except for Dale Hawerchuk, each of those players that saw a dip in their shot rates either suffered an injury in their 22-24 years or were traded to another team. Whether performance drops caused the trades or the other way around I won't dig into because we can make the assumption that Hall won't be traded to another team. We certainly can't account for injuries, but the players who stayed in place saw an average of a 14% increase in shots per game.

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