Why You Should Expect More Goals From Taylor Hall This Season

While he did score 20 goals last season, Taylor Hall was a bit off his career pace last season. You should expect on seeing him light the lamp a bit more this coming season (Photo by Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

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To say 2016-17 was a down year for Taylor Hall wouldn’t totally be out of the realm of truth. While he did finish tied for the team lead in points with 53, he fell short of expectations by his standards and Ray Shero made his feelings clear stating that he’s expecting more of Hall this coming season. Injuries had something to do with it, as Hall did miss time after tearing his meniscus. That’s in addition to the Devils having a dismal year.

Despite the lower point totals, Hall still posted fantastic underlying numbers and was the biggest driver of play on a team that had trouble doing so for a majority of the season. While that’s the case, Hall did see a dip in one area that is well off from his career average, which wasn’t something he exactly had control of either. This stat would be his five-on-five shooting percentage.

The following table displays Hall’s five-on-five shooting percentage throughout the course of his seven NHL seasons.

Season 5-on-5 Shooting Percentage
2010-11 6.8%
2011-12 8.9%
2012-13 10.2%
2013-14 9.6%
2014-15 7.7%
2015-16 8.0%
2016-17 4.6%

Hall has been a consistently good shooter over his career, but that wasn’t the case during his first season in New Jersey, where he finished with a career low 4.6 percent even strength shooting percentage, and only had eight five-on-five goals for the season. Prior to 2016-17, his five-on-five shooting percentage had consistently been anywhere from 8-10 percent with the exception of his rookie year, which is the norm for a young player. For his career, he’s averaged a 7.9 percent even strength shooting percentage, so clearly 2016-17 was just a down season.

What might be the reason for that?

There aren’t a ton of driving factors behind an individual’s shooting percentage. Age is one, but Hall is still only 25 and hasn’t shown any signs of decline, so we can rule that out. The one main factor behind Hall’s career-low shooting percentage can be attributed to a lack of “puck luck.” With the Devils having one of their worst seasons in franchise history, Hall didn’t get the bounces to fall his way (like many of his teammates). With his career five-on-five shooting percentage at 7.9 percent, you’d be in a pretty good spot if you bet on Hall reverting to the mean and finishing close to somewhere around his career average at the conclusion of this season.

There’s no fancy analysis to be had here. Some players get unlucky as Hall did in 2016-17, while some players get crazy luck and shoot 25 percent when their career averages are 10 percent. If history has taught us anything, it’s these players almost always revert back to the mean, regardless of whether they get no or too much luck. This doesn’t necessarily mean a 10-15 goal jump in production, but Hall has averaged close to 27 goals per 82 games for his career. If he generates the amount of shots and scoring chances he did last year, I’d expect him to be close to that total this season. Whichever way you look at it, seeing Hall light the lamp a bit more in 2017-18 should be a good bet to take.

Stats in the table are from Corsica Hockey 

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