Taylor Hall set new career-highs for himself in goals (39), assists (54), and points (93) this season, earning him enough recognition to win the 2018 Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s most valuable player to their team. For the Devils, Hall was the organization’s first player to break the 90-point plateau since Zach Parise had 94 in 2008-2009. Since relocating to New Jersey, only four Devils players have had 90-point seasons—Kirk Mueller (87-88, 94), Patrik Elias (00-01, 96), Zach Parise (08-09, 94), and Taylor Hall (17-18, 93).
With expectations at an all-time high for Hall, along with his assumed role of being the new face and leader of this team, one of the questions that arises from these circumstances is the nature of the left wing’s breakout season. Have Hall’s true offensive capabilities been unlocked, or was this a one-time phenomena? Can Hall have another 90-point season?
Hall is a complete player with a strong two-way game and litany of other resourceful assets, with his offensive capabilities being one of his strongest. There’s no questioning Hall has the skillset to reach this threshold again. One of the ways to project how likely he is to have a similar season is to look at the history of players with 90-point seasons in the salary cap era.
According to NHL.com (via their statistics page), in the last 13 seasons since the salary cap era began, 39 different players had 90-point seasons, with 20 of them having multiple over that timespan. Out of the 20 players who have had multiple 90-point seasons since 2005, 16 of them hit that figure in back-to-back years at least once. Despite being 26 when next season starts, age was a non-factor in this group, with players in their teens and mid-30s all being on that list (which you can see in a chart I’ve arranged here).
The data indicates that in the salary cap era, players who garner 90 points in one season for the first time, have a slightly-better-than 50/50 chance of putting up those kind of numbers again—and in back-to-back seasons for that matter. Let’s keep in mind, however, that every player’s individual and team circumstances are different. As we all know, no other Devils’ player on last season’s team totaled higher than 52 points. Between Hall’s chances of getting consecutive 90-point seasons and (after making it by the skin of their teeth this past spring) New Jersey making the playoffs two years in a row, neither Hall, Shero, or Hynes can rely on this formula to work next season.
The chances of Hall getting consecutive 90-point seasons with the Devils current roster are very bleak. While I’m sure changes will be made in the coming weeks, the biggest takeaway from this piece should be that Hall will is more than capable of posting these kind of numbers again, but his supporting cast needs upgrades aimed at immediately improving this Devils team to help him achieve it.