Sunday, August 29, 2010

If The Past Ten Years Tells Us Anything, Hall Should Be A PPG+ Player In His Prime

Looking over the last ten drafts and at wingers selected first or second overall in that time, it's a list of who's who of elite wingers. Ovechkin, Kovalchuk, Heatley, Nash, Kane, Ryan, we're talking some of the very best wingers in the league today and even over a number of years.

Ovechkin is a generational talent so take what he's done with a grain of salt as it is very unlikely that we'll see another winger as dominant as he is in this generation of hockey. On the other side of the spectrum we have Van Riemsdyk who came from a very weak draft in terms of star power besides superstar Patrick Kane. That still leaves us with Kovalchuk, Heatley, Nash, and Kane as likely comparables for Hall. Let's look at what these wingers have done so far in their careers.

Ovechkin (1st Overall 2004)
396gp. 269-260-529
Best Season 82gp. 65-47-112 (3rd NHL Season)

Kovalchuk (1st overall 2001)
621gp. 338-304-642
Best Season 78gp. 52-46-98 (4th NHL Season)

Heatley (2nd overall 2000)
589gp. 299-326-625
Best Season 82gp. 50-55-105 (5th NHL Season)

Nash (1st overall 2002)
517gp. 227-195-422
Best Season 78gp. 40-39-79 (6th NHL Season)

Not In Their Primes Yet

Ryan (2nd Overall 2005) 168gp. 71-60-131
Best Season 81gp. 35-29-64 (2nd NHL Season/Last Season)

Kane (1st Overall 2007) 244gp. 76-154-230
Best Season 82gp. 30-58-88 (3rd NHL Season/Last Season)

Van Riemsdyk (2nd Overall 2007) 78gp. 15-20-35
Best Season 78gp. 15-20-35 (1st NHL Season/Last Season)

Nash is the lowest scoring of the recent 1st overall wingers, however unlike the others he has had the weakest supporting cast. Ovechkin (Backstrom, Semin), Kovalchuk (Hossa for some time), Heatley (Alfredsson, Spezza, Thornton, Marleau), and Ryan (Getzlaf, Perry) all had time lining up with elite players. This IMO tells me that Hall should lap Nash's production because of his potential supporting cast.

IMO there is no reason not to believe that Hall will be a point per game player or even a little better during his prime. Whether he'll ever hit the 100 point marker will depend on the quality of his linemates as well as his level of dominance. IMO at some point in his prime he will at least flirt with the century mark if he can have a healthy career.

The benefits that Hall has over many of the others listed above is that he is willing to take a hit to make plays and he has a lot of heart for such a highly skilled player. This will undoubtedly lead to more points during the season (if he stays healthy). Hall should become one of this generations elite wingers, IMO he will be in or near the class of Kovalchuk, Kane, and Heatley but he has the potential to be better than all of them when the chips are down because of his never say die attitude.

Comparing players is always tough to do because of team situations, divisional play, etc. but Hall IMO will compare favorably to everyone above not named Ovechkin when it's all said and done. It won't be right away and it will take the Oilers adding another elite forward (if we don't already have that player in our system) but the Oilers finally have themselves that elite offensive threat from the wing.

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