BOSTON — Remember the Taylor vs. Tyler debate — the top two prospects entering the 2010 NHL Draft who seemed destined for stardom?
Fast forward five years, and both Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin have become franchise players who provide impressive offensive production and skill, and make the players around them better.
Seguin ranks third in the NHL in scoring with 40 points (15 goals, 25 assists) in 30 games, while Hall is fourth with 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists), also through 30 games.
Hall enters Monday night’s game against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden as the hottest player in the league. He’s on a four-game point streak, a run that includes a total of nine points and five goals. He also has scored a goal in four consecutive games.
“I’d say I’m just improving as a player, as a leader,” Hall said after Edmonton’s morning skate Monday. “It’s been a really fun year for that. We’re not where we want to be team-wise just yet. There’s a lot of really good things happening, and it’s the same case with me.”
Hall hasn’t received the same amount of recognition for his on-ice play as Seguin. In his defense, Seguin already has won a Stanley Cup with the Bruins and ranked among the leaders in scoring over the last two seasons with the Dallas Stars. Hall’s career was negatively impacted early by injuries, but his durability has improved over the last three seasons.
There’s no question Hall is one of the league’s best left wingers and quite possibly the first-line LW for Team Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics, if the NHL decides to participate at that event.
Here’s how Hall and Seguin compare in the basic scoring categories. They both began their NHL careers during the 2010-11 season as 18-year-old rookies.
Seguin has the edge in all four scoring categories, primarily because he has played in 55 more games. That makes a huge difference, especially for a player like Seguin, who has produced around a point-per-game level the past two seasons.
When you break it down on a per game and per 60-minutes basis, though, Hall stacks up quite well. Every stat in the next chart except points per game is from even-strength ice time.
When you look at them analytically, Hall has made a bigger impact on puck possession than Seguin this season. The Oilers control 51.87 percent of even-strength shot attempts when Hall is on the ice, compared to just 46.76 percent when he’s not. That difference of 5.11 percent, also known as his Corsi Relative percentage, is 2 percent higher than Seguin’s. The Stars still account for 51.48 percent of even-strength shot attempts when Seguin isn’t on the ice.
The Oilers are moving closer toward being a playoff-caliber team. There’s still much improvement to be made, but the team certainly is on the right track, especially after drafting Connor McDavid No. 1 overall in June and putting a greater emphasis on adding talent and depth to the blue line through free agency and the draft.
Hall, however, might be the most crucial part of the franchise’s success going forward. Not only is he an elite player with his on-ice production, he has become a tremendous leader and is accountable for his play. That’s the type of person NHL front offices want leading their team.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images