The Oilers are looking for even more development from their über talented young forwards to push them into the playoffs. Can they do it?
I think they certainly can. RNH went into last season with a shoulder that probably needed surgery before his stint at the WJHC, Yakupov was just a rookie pro, and Eberle had a fine but not great season. So there’s room for improvement and lots of it. But what about Hall?
Hall had a whale of a season and by all rights should have been an All-Star if the PHWA hadnt cocked up their voting and named Ovechkin to two spots simultaneously. But can he be even better? David Staples seems to think he can make it up to 105 points with a healthy dose of luck.
105 is a big number. In fact the last Oiler to score 100+ points was Doug Weight and that was in 95/96. In 1996 there were only 2 goalies with a save percentage above .915 who played more than 40 games, Dominik Hasek and Daren Puppa (Who?). In 2011/2012, our last full NHL season, there were 17 (and 3 more at .914). Needless to say, scoring is a lot harder today than it was in 95/96.
It’s been so long for an Oiler player to have even come close to 100 that we probably wouldnt be able to describe it in great detail. The last player to even score 90 was Doug Weight (again) in 2000/2001. The highest scoring Oiler since then was Hemsky’s 77, almost 30 points off the pace for the 105 that Taylor Hall’s imaginary season would be.
So lets take a look back at that 1995/1996 magic season that Doug Weight had in which he scored 104 points.
There are a few things that caught me off guard about the season. First, the rest of the team wasnt exactly pulling their own weight (no pun intended). The drop off from Weight’s 104 points is a steep one. The next closest Oiler is Zdeno Cigar’s 70 points, then it drops again to Arnott’s 59, then again to David Oliver’s 39.
This is a far cry from the scenario it might take Hall to score 105 in the present time where his linemates are also crushing it.
The second thing that struck me about Weight’s season was just how many games he didnt actually record a point. Weight was held pointless in 21 games. A full 1/4 of the season! That means he scored his 104 in only 61 games! Now anecdotally Weight was the kind of player where you might say he was invisible but looking at the scoresheet he had 3 Assists. That 1995/1996 season was probably when those stories were born, because he had 30 multi-point nights and many of them were of the 3 Assist variety.
One might imagine a 104 point season is one of extreme consistency, and yet he was kept off the scoresheet in 21 games. That, to me, is completely mind blowing. Malkin put up 109 in 2011/2012 and was held pointless in only 14 games. Sedin had 104 and was held pointless 17 times. The reality is that 104 points doesnt mean very few pointless games as it does a lot more multi point one.
Will Hall score 100+ in his career? I have no clue, but if he does I dont think we’ll be prepared for it. We havent been treated to that kind of a performance in almost 20 years.