There has been a fair amount of discussion in the Oilers Nation media verse about the need for more scoring. The Oilers really do need more scoring from players other than McDavid, Draisaitl and Maroon. It’s been well established that the Oilers need more scoring, which obviously keeps the Hall / Larsson swap in focus. This post isn’t to discuss that trade; I am a Hall fan and a Larsson fan. The purpose of this post is to discuss a little of what Hall did well for the Oilers, and what the Oilers are missing. I don’t blame anyone for watching the team and then looking at the stat columns of the Oilers and wishing & wondering where the team would be with Taylor Hall.
Here is my take on that. The trade is over. We didn’t get the value I thought we should have, however I also like Adam Larsson and do believe he is helping the Oilers. Is he helping more than Hall would have? No, I don’t think so but I also think our GM’s searched for a top 4 veteran right handed defencemen for years. I don’t know that for sure, but we heard enough smoke about it. I know Larsson’s presence in the lineup alone helps with proper playing time and slotting for players like Matthew Benning. I really don’t want to compare one to the other, due to the fact it is a team game. I appreciate Larsson and I miss Hall. So where does that leave me? I want to replace Hall’s production is where I stand. Primarily I believe players like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Milan Lucic and Benoit Pouliot need to score more. If they do, do we still need more scoring? Yes. We can never have too much scoring. We also have to plan for injuries and slumps in other players that are currently scoring. So a long story short this post isn’t about Taylor Hall, but it is about replacing his Point Production.
I don’t really think I need to dig into Taylor Hall’s point production on his own. He was a consistent threat, he plays with speed and tenacity, as a point driver behind Connor McDavid he would have been a terrific “second fiddle”. He is gone, let’s replace him.
First player up is Matt Duchene. If this player is available I believe EVERY responsible General Manager has a duty and an obligation to inquire on and try to trade for him. TSN has him number one on their current trade bait board. I decided to compare him to Hall and see what it looks like.
[table id=23 /]
These numbers are courtesy of stats.hockeyanalysis.com, using the last 4 years data (13-17) for sample size. I pulled them in January so there would be a small change.
These metrics aren’t everything, but if I am Pete Chiarelli and I am looking for options to replace Taylor Hall’s point production and TSN reports that Matt Duchene is available, I make sure Joe Sakic knows that I very much want to do business with him. I would want him to know that I am very much willing to look at a variety of different types of deals.
Comparing these players using these metrics we can see that they are very similar offensive performers, perhaps as close as you can get with 2 small differences. Duchene scores more goals but has a lower Goals For percentage on the ice. This could mean a variety of things but perhaps its due to the fact that Hall had less people helping him score in Edmonton over this time. Goal scoring is the end game in the NHL and it doesn’t happen enough; I never take for granted a player that puts the puck in the net over a long time frame. Duchene is a sure thing.
On the powerplay their Point production from 13-17 is also very similar: Duchene scores 3.83 p/60, and Hall 3.73, although Hall is actually the better goal scorer in that metric.
What does it cost to acquire a Matt Duchene? We typically hear the following; A young NHL “hopeful” star level player, A 1st round pick, and another high level prospect.
What do the Oilers have to offer?
Darnell Nurse would be the young “hopeful” star. The Oilers have a 1st rounder but they do not have a Chabot or White level prospect, so they probably have to look to offer a different type of package.
How about Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and something? I am a very big fan of RNH, but he has lost his offensive touch lately. I also think Duchene is a clear upgrade on RNH, at least offensively. If I am Colorado I also want more. What is does that look like? Probably at least the 2017 1st, and perhaps something along the prospect lines. The Oilers really only have a few of those (Jesse Puljujarvi, Tyler Benson, Caleb Jones, and Ethan Bear) of note to another organization. Perhaps Brandon Davidson would suffice for this.
Would I trade a combination of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 2017 1st Round Pick, and Brandon Davidson, and even one of Benson/Jones/Bear for Matt Duchene? YES, and yesterday.
Do I think it will Happen? NO, not at all.
Why? the main reason is Edmonton already has a lack of depth in the organization. Secondarily Duchene only has 2 Seasons left under his current contract and then is a UFA. That is a lot to pay for any player that can walk away.
In my mind, the big players in the Matt Duchene sweepstakes are the Carolina Hurricanes. They have a very big need for an elite scorer (I know, every team does). They also have depth to trade from; young defencemen, draft picks, drafted players, roster players and cap space.
Whichever team gets Matt Duchene is getting a very good player. I say: Go get him Chiarelli. You can never have too much scoring.