Taylor Hall: Why He Can Approach a Point Per Game as an NHL Rookie
Most fans are expecting Taylor Hall to continue the most recent trend with first overall picks, which has been, put up about 50 points in the rookie season and then continue from there.
No one wants to put any higher expectations on the kid, as there is already a lot of pressure from being a No. 1 pick, as well as being in a rabid Canadian market like Edmonton.
But can he, and will he do better?
Experts say probably not. Only three players in the last decade have scored at a point per game as rookies—Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, and Evgeni Malkin—and no one is confusing Hall with any of those generational talents.
People also point to the last couple years where rookie's scoring is at a more reasonable level.
Last year, the first overall pick, John Tavares, put up 24 goals and 54 points, while the leading rookie scorer was Matt Duchene with 55 points. The 2008 first overall pick, Steven Stamkos, scored 46 points as a freshman, with the leader, Bobby Ryan, scoring 57 points. So expecting more than 50 some points from Hall is too much, right?
Wrong. Well, maybe not completely wrong, anyway. If Hall hits 50 some points with 20 goals this year, Oilers fans should be very, very, happy. But, there is the potential to do more.
Yes, the last two first overall picks didn't take the league by storm their rookie season, but the 2007 one did.
Patrick Kane posted 72 points his first season. Why is that relevant? Hall and Kane are the only wingers to be taken first overall since the lockout. Tavares and Stamkos (and Duchene too if you want to include him) were centers.
Again, why is this relevant?
Well, in hockey, the center usually has to be more defensively aware and responsible. Wingers, on the other hand, don't have to worry as much about defense and instead can focus on offense. This is why Hall could, potentially, do better than Tavares and Stamkos and put up Kane like numbers, or better.
Without the pressure of having to be able to handle himself defensively, Hall could flourish under that free reign and become the highest rookie scorer since Kane, or maybe even Malkin.
It's not as big of an "if" as some people think.
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