Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Surving Taylor Hall

On June 29th 2016, the Edmonton Oilers stunned the hockey world by trading Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Adam Larsson. Fans in Edmonton were immediately perplexed as the Oilers traded one of the best left wingers in the game for a guy most people in Edmonton had never heard of. 2 days later, the Oilers signed winger Milan Lucic to a deal, seemingly putting the trade into perspective. That next season, the Oilers rocketed up the league standings, and made the playoffs, breaking their 10-year playoff drought. Taylor's absence from the team was rarely brought up that year as the Devils faltered down the standings and Larsson's defensive play was well recieved by the fansbase. A year later, the script was reversed. While Larsson's play was consistent (though he did deal with an injury and the passing of his father), Hall's Devils went on a tear. Hall provided much of the offence for the Devils, riding a long point streak and earning a spot on the Hart trophy ballot. With the Oilers struggling to score at times this season (being shut out 9 times this past season), fans were once again perplexed at the trade and also a little pissed, saying that having Hall on the Oilers would've helped the team either score a goal or make the playoffs. While I am supportive of the idea that Hall would've helped the Oilers more last season, I am also making the argument that the Oilers are doing fine without him. Here's why.

With that in mind, I decided to take a look at the goals for and against the Oilers from Hall's draft year to now. This is what I found:

Taylor Hall's rookie season was in the 2010-11 season. That year, the Oilers finished 30th overall in the NHL with a record of 25-45-12. In 82 games, the Oilers potted 193 goals, and surrendered 269. The 2011-12 season was slightly better. The Oilers finished 29th with a record of 32-40-10. They scored 212 goals, giving up 239. In the shortened, 2012-13 season, Edmonton finished 24th  overall with a record of 19-22-7. They scored 125 goals and surrendered 134. In 2013-14 they went 29-44-9 scoring 203 goals and giving up 270. In the 2014-15 season, they went 24-44-14 scoring 198 and giving up 283. In McDavid's rookie year, Edmonton went 31-43-8 whilst scoring 203 goals and giving up 247. In the Oilers first year without Hall, Edmonton went 47-26-9. They scored 247 goals and surrendered 212. Last season, Edmonton went 36-40-6 whilst scoring 234 goals and giving up 263.

In the past two seasons WITHOUT Taylor Hall, the Oilers scored 247 and 234 goals respectively. The Oilers WITH Hall never even came close to those numbers, the closest being 212 in 2010-11. Now, much of this has to do with McDavid potting 208 points in those two years, but the Oilers, so far, have managed to survive without Taylor Hall offensively. His departure didn't create a massive hole in the Oilers offense. It created a hole that hasn't be adequately filled yet, but his departure hasn't crippled the team offensively. Sure, last year Taylor Hall would've helped pop one or two more goals in a game. But offensively, the Oilers are doing just fine without him.

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