• Taylor Hall Data Viz

    by  • January 19, 2014 • Hockey • 4 Comments

    Young Willis kind of stole my thunder with a post over at Oilers Nation about Taylor Hall’s struggles last week. It struck me that it was pretty funny – a decade ago, nobody would be talking about Hall’s bad season. Now, with Corsi% and PDO widely available, it’s a pretty hot topic of discussion.

    I don’t have a ton to add to what Young Willis said at the moment but I thought a graph might help illustrate the point. I went through and sorted all of Hall’s games over the past three seasons by his Corsi%. Blue is 2011-13, orange is this year. It’s pretty obvious that something’s gone badly wrong.

    One of the funny things about this season is that there actually has been improvement in the Oilers SF/SA numbers when Hall isn’t on the ice. They’re back to about where they were with Tom Renney coaching. It’s just been hidden because Hall’s suffered through a bit of a nightmare season. The change is so stark, there has to be something going on here, whether it’s a bad injury he’s playing through, a change in tactics or something else. Just a question of what.

    Email Tyler Dellow at tyler@mc79hockey.com

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    4 Responses to Taylor Hall Data Viz

    1. wooodguy
      January 19, 2014 at

      Would love to see the:

      Shifts with 0CF
      Shitfs with 1CF
      Shifts with 2CF

      stuff for this year.

      Pretty please?

    2. Devin
      January 20, 2014 at

      Hall’s still wearing a brace and playing through a sprained MCL, right?

      • Murat
        January 20, 2014 at

        I think you’re right. Also, there was a tweet (Stauffer, I think) last week saying Hall missed an optional skate because of a sore shoulder. A big deal was not made of this, but I worried.

    3. Murat
      January 20, 2014 at

      I am basing this off of seeing just one game – I was at the Oilers/Jets game this past weekend. However, it happened so consistently during the game that I was left to assume it is part of Edmonton’s system.

      VS WPG:
      When EDM’s #1 line turned the puck over in the offensive zone, two defensemen and two forwards (always 93 + 14) hustled back into Edmonton’s zone to play defense. Taylor Hall coasted straight up the wall and joined the defensive play late, and Edmonton played a 4-man box until he joined the play at his point. At first I thought I was watching a lazy back check, but this happened with such astonishing consistency (both Hall coasting back and EDM organizing a 4-man defense) that I can only think it is part of Eakins’ tactics.

      What would this accomplish? I assume the theory would be that, should Edmonton regain possession early in the play, Hall would be ready for a fast transition up the ice while if Edmonton gives up sustained zone time, Hall gets back and covers his point… but this just seems so amateur and I just don’t get it. I think the real result is Edmonton gets shelled in their own zone for a little while extra before anything good can go the other way.

      In Willis’ article, he shows that Hall is on for a few more shots against this year. This would, quite honestly, fall in line with what I saw in their defensive zone (assuming they have played the “system” I watched on Saturday all year long). Willis also shows that Hall is on for far fewer shots for. Would this be explained in the same way? Does it take longer for Edmonton to regain possession and therefore Hall is playing a higher percentage of his shifts in the defensive zone? For the proportionate differences to make sense, I think we’d have to accept that all else being equal, Taylor Hall would normally create more multiple shot shifts than he would give up. This is the only way I see my theory holding true for a few extra shots against and so much fewer shots for.

      What do you think? Even typing this feels like madness because what I saw on Saturday either looks like an absolutely ridiculous “system” or one full game’s worth of Hall not backchecking to save his life or my morning coffee being laced full of hallucinogens.

      A final, additional note:
      One thing that I feel absolutely sure of is that every single one of Edmonton’s wingers plays defense too low in the zone. Shift after shift, winger after winger would collapse underneath the top of the circles – almost to the hash marks – when play was in Edmonton’s zone. Sure enough, when the puck eventually made its way to the point, not only did Edmonton have no hope of intercepting it and clearing the zone but the Jet defenseman had a free shot.

      All in all, I know I saw just one bad game during one of Edmonton’s worst stretches of the season, but I left feeling pretty disgusted. I cheered hard early in the season when I thought they were a bit unlucky. Today I feel like they are 100% full value for 29th place and the defensive systems I saw may be to blame.

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