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Taylor Hall's Bizarrely Underrated MVP Performance for the Coyotes

June 7, 2020, 12:25 PM ET [74 Comments]
James Tanner
Arizona Coyotes Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The most annoying thing about the NHL and the analysis done by the media that covers it is the fact that almost all individual performances are graded on total points and team success.

A vast majority of hockey writers and analysts are just lazy. Then again, for those that cover the league and not individual teams, its just a matter of expediency. Either way, point totals and team success are bad ways to judge a player.

Far too often, people just look at a player's point totals and team success and call it a day.

Now, I don't know how many people actually notice this, because when you get paid to write about hockey, you also get paid to be a massive hockey nerd. Before I wrote about hockey for a living, I didn't have the time to go into detail on a player's statistical performance, and I relied mostly on reputation for my opinions.

But its nuts to see how often that reputation is wrong, if you actually have the time and inclination to dig down a bit deeper.

Take Taylor Hall.

A lot of people think his time in Arizona was a disappointment. He didn't score a point per game, he scored 10 goals in 35 games (roughly a 22 goal pace) and his team dropped out of the playoffs after he was acquired.

So on the surface it doesn't look like it worked out.

But Taylor Hall is and was amazing for the Coyotes.

To understand how good he was, you've got to understand how bad the Coyotes actually are.

When the trade was made on December 16th, Coyotes were in 6th place overall out of 31 teams in the NHL in just under half a season (33 games).



They were a lock for the playoffs. But they were also 3rd in the NHL in 5v5 save percentage with a preposterous 94.09 save percentage.

This constantly happens in the NHL, but nearly everyone calls me an idiot when I bring it up. The "good defensive" teams get reputations based on their goalies, but goalies aren't connected to defense as much as you think.

The Coyotes can't score and they let the other team have the puck a lot. They are poorly coached, poorly constructed and had no business being in 6th overall except for the fact that on December 16th the Hart Trophy was Darcy Kuemper's to lose.

Unfortunately, he almost immediately went down to injury and the Coyotes' terrible team stats caught up to them.

When the season ended, they were going to miss the playoffs.

The only people who benefited more from Covid 19 were billionaires.

As for Taylor Hall, he truly played great. It's just that he's one player on a team of 18.

Despite the lack of team success, and the low overall points totals, he still scored at a P/60 rate of over 2/60 which is solid 1st line scoring.

There is probably not a more thankless job in the NHL of being the best player on a team in total free fall.

Hall scored at a solid rate, despite being the only first liner on his line, and despite being the only player on his team other team's had to focus on.

Despite the Coyotes allowing more shots and shot-attempts than they received while Hall was on the ice, his 5v5 goal differential was even. The Coyotes were the 28th best team in the NHL after they acquired Hall, so that is frankly an insane number that is testament to how good he was.

The 4th worst team was able to break even with Hall on the ice, because he alone is good enough to face the best players on the other team and break even. With no help.

The thing is, despite the low Corsi stats, the Coyotes picked up 56% of the dangerous scoring chances when Hall was on ice, pushing his expected goals rating into the 52% range.

For reference, Leno Draisaitl, who will most likely win the Hart Trophy after leading the league in points, gets to play with Connor McDavid, teams don't focus exclusively on him, and he still couldn't manage to break even on the expected goals rating.

So Taylor Hall is kind of awesome. His time in Arizona is extremely underrated.

Christian Dvorak and Connor Garland are decent enough players, but first-line worthy peers of Taylor Hall they are not.

Hall only scored 6 PP points in 35 games, while shooting 6%.

And yet, the overall numbers are still fantastic.

If the Coyotes could have scored on the power-play (ever) Hall's overall numbers (i.e the ones people actually care about) would have looked so much better. IF Kuemper hadn't have gotten injured, the team wouldn't have collapsed and he would have been seen under a much better light.

Anyways, the point is that Taylor Hall, the former Hart Trophy winner, played like someone who could in the Hart Trophy again during his time in Arizona. He was truly incredible to watch, and the numbers prove that he performed up to expectations.

His age suggests his contract won't be great, but they should still resign him, and I predict they will.

Stats from naturalstattrick.com

Disclaimer due to idiocy: This article is not meant to say that Taylor Hall deserves even one second of Hart Trophy consideration. He most certainly does not. He did, however, play at an MVP level despite lower than expected point totals.
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