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The Progress Report: Taylor's Time

A look at Taylor Hall 10 games into his return from injury.

Friday, 06.01.2012 / 8:30 PM / Features
By Travis Knee  - edmontonoilers.com
It's been quite the second season in the NHL for Taylor Hall. The Oilers prize first overall pick from the 2010 entry draft has had to battle another injury, the second of his young career. He has had to do so while still trying to improve his overall game and take it to that next level.

After missing 17 games due to injury in his rookie season, Hall missed a few weeks again this year when he banged up his shoulder. The injury came at a time when fellow young stars in Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were really hitting their strides. This definitely hurt Hall's momentum and for the first time since becoming an Oiler, but him out of the spotlight among Oilers players just a bit.

With Hall not getting off to quite as hot a start as his two counterparts and then having to miss time with the injury, Taylor took a backseat to some extent. Nugent-Hopkins was running away with the rookie points race and Jordan Eberle was the team's leading point-getter and taking his game to that so called 'next level' in his second year. So what about Hall?
Now is the time for Taylor Hall to take his game up a notch.

Well fast forward to today, the conditions have changed a bit with the recent injury to RNH and Hall fully integrated back into the lineup.

With 10 games under his belt since his return, it seems a good time to look at the progress Taylor Hall has made in his second season. Is the former first overall pick progressing as the organization and fans have hoped for?

The answer with 32 games now to draw from is yes. Hall came back from his injury and played as if he haden't missed a beat, recording two goals in his first game back. Despite critics calling out Hall's playing style as the reason for the early injuries in his career, Hall continued to play exactly like he always has, at top flight. 

“I feel real good out there,” said Hall. "I think i'm just now playing my best hockey of the season."

Hall has put up 10 points (6G, 4A) in 10 games since returning and has been arguably the team's most productive forward since his return. This has been great news for the coaching staff who will need Hall at his best with the continuing injury bug that is biting the team.  

“He's been great since he got back,” explained head coach Tom Renney. " He is playing with the intensity that we've come to expect out of Taylor."

Despite missing eight games, Hall currently sits with 28 points (13G, 15A) in 32 games. This is good enough for fourth in team scoring and he is quickly rising with his strong play as of late.

“I'm just trying to improve with each game, if the points come then that's just a bonus, explained Hall.”

Hall's current production still has him on pace to exceed nearly all of his offensive totals from his rookie season. Having notched 42 points (22G, 20A) in 65 games last year, Hall is currently on pace to hit the 30 goal mark and register 64 points.
Hall has been finding the net with ease since his return.

These totals would put Hall right in the same category as other top draft picks in their sophomore campaigns. If we look at players such as John Tavares and Matt Duchene, we see that each recored nearly 30 goals and had 67 points in their second years.  

Seeing that Hall is progressing at the same pace as many of the other top picks of the past few years seems to put things into better perspective.

With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins out of the lineup for a while now, this is a time for Taylor Hall to step up and be an offensive leader on this team. He along with Jordan Eberle and Ryan Smyth will be counted on to lead the scoring charge for a struggling Oilers team who has come up just short in a number of games lately. With Hall back and playing at such a high level, the second half of this season could be a fun time to watch Taylor Hall play.
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Author: Travis Knee | edmontonoilers.com


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