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Projecting Taylor Hall

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How much offense is it reasonable to expect from Taylor Hall next season?

Taylor Hall fills the net.
Taylor Hall fills the net.
Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

One of the best parts about the online community following the Edmonton Oilers is that there are so many different writers doing excellent work and sparking thought. One of those writers, Lowetide, just started his Resonable Expectations series with Taylor Hall hitting leadoff (a baseball analogy is mandatory when talking about Lowetide's work). He nicks Hall for his injury history, but still has him scoring a rather prolific 1.14 points per game. That scoring rate looked aggressive right off the hop, and after a little digging, it seems to me that "reasonable" for Hall should take a couple steps back.

First, there just aren't many players who achieve this level of offense. Last year, no one did, and while that's not typical, just five players have been able to play at least sixty games and score at least 1.1 points per game in the same season over the last five seasons (Malkin twice, Crosby, Giroux, Stamkos, and Getzlaf). So it's not just Hall; scoring at that rate isn't really a reasonable expectation for anybody. When someone does achieve it, it's outstanding.

So how much should we be walking this back? In order to answer that question I looked for historical comparables, forwards who played their first five NHL seasons before the age of 25 and scored between 0.78 and 0.98 points per game. I then looked at how those players did offensively in their next season to give us an idea of what might be reasonable for Hall as well as his outer limits. Here are the results:

Taylor Hall

I've highlighted Gomez and Tanguay because they both had the 2005-06 season as their sixth year. You'll recall that this was the first season after the first lockout of the 2000s, which means that both guys had a full year off in 2004-05 and that both guys benefited from a huge increase in league scoring (from 5.1 goals per game in 2003-04 to 6.1 in 2005-06) due to rule changes (mostly the crackdown on obstruction, which led to more powerplays).

Interestingly, Hall may benefit in a similar way this season with the NHL moving to three-on-three overtime. Now, that change won't add a goal per game to league scoring, but it will surely result in at least a small increase with Hall being a beneficiary. The additions of Connor McDavid and Todd McLellan should also help Hall's totals, but that impact is pretty difficult to quantify, especially relative to the changes experienced by the other players on this list.

All things considered, let's go with the higher average and call reasonable 1.02 points per game and then pray for health. Over an 82-game season, that's 84 points, just three off last year's leading scorer. So no matter how you slice it, reasonable is pretty darn good.