Left Wing Lock




Tonight we get the luxury of watching the two best left wingers in the NHL. Taylor Hall has four goals and he’s become the clear-cut emotional leader of the team. It should be very entertaining to watch him and Ovechkin go head-to-head.

This is Jason Gregor spewing nonsense over at Oiler Nation.

Taylor Hall is NOT one of the best two left wingers in the NHL. Not even close.

Hall isn’t even the best LW in the WC of the NHL.

In fact, there are several players who I would take over Hall on my team if I had to win a game or a playoff series. Hockey Canada and the people who voted for NHL All Star teams also happen to agree with me.

Gregor was, of course referring to Alex Ovechkin as the other “best left winger in the NHL” but the second or third best, at least, is not Taylor Hall.

Likely the best LW in hockey is Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars.

14 players voted on who they would pick to build an NHL franchise around, and Sidney Crosby picked Jamie Benn: “He just does everything pretty well,” Crosby said. “Two-way guy. He’s big and strong and tough. He does a lot of good things. And he’s young. He’d be the guy right now.”

Benn, who turned 25 in July, led all LW’s in the league last season with 34 goals. (Ovechkin played RW last season and scored 51G albeit in the easier EC)

Hall finished the season with 27 goals and 80 points (1 more then Benn) but, as usual, Hall gave up way more than he scored finishing the season at -15 to Benn’s +21.

But let’s drill a little deeper.

I think we can agree that the best measure of a player is his ability to produce at even strength since  PP points are more rare and serendipitous. Here is how the top 10 LW finished in 5V5 P/60 last season.

1) Jamie Benn – 2.95

2) Taylor Hall – 2.91

3) Gabriel Landeskog – 2.57

4) Thomas Vanek – 2.57

5) Phil Kessel – 2.52

6) Milan Lucic – 2.35

7) Joe Pavelski – 2.32

8) Chris Kunitz – 2.29

9) Patrick Maroon – 2.29

10) Max Pacioretty – 2.26

Pretty heady company and Hall looks pretty good here but now let’s take a look about 200 feet down the ice.

Being an “outscorer” is critical to success in hockey because it doesn’t much matter how much you score if you give up even more.

5V5 +-/60

1) Dustin Penner – +1.79 (I KNOW!)

2) Milan Lucic – +1.58

3) Chris Kunitz – +1.36

4) Joe Pavelski – +1.34

5) Ondrej Palat – +1.33

6) Jamie Benn – +1.32

7) Loui Eriksson – +1.24

8) Patrick Maroon – +1.19

9) Gabriel Landeskog – +1.19

10) Valeri Nichushkin – +1.03

55) Taylor Hall – -0.36

Now, some context is required here. For example, Chris Kunitz is being pulled along but the best player in hockey and Milan Lucic benefits from playing in front of an outstanding back end but that doesn’t account for how dreadful Hall is at outscoring.

Mason Raymond is better.

Those were the numbers for last season and it’s early days in the 2014/15 season, but at the moment Jamie Benn is ranked 10th at +3.61 while Taylor Hall is 83rd at -1.31.

Something to keep and eye on before proclaiming Hall “one of two best LW in hockey”.

He isn’t…not even close.






2 thoughts on “Left Wing Lock

  1. I’m not saying Benn is better, I honestly don’t know, but let’s look objectively at a couple things here.
    Benn had the opportunity to play with Crosby.

    Benn plays with arguable two 1st line centers, Dallas has moved the trio of Spezza, Seguin and Benn back together, and they were a line throughout most of 13-14.

    Hall played with an injured RNH and a recovering RNH, and Eberle, let’s not beat around the bush, both players are not Seguin or Spezza not by a long shot.

    Again, I’m not sure we can take much from 5×5 ether? Objectively, I think we can agree the Edmonton Oilers are brutal throughout the lineup, if your number 1 is Ference & Petry can we really account for the same when Benn has Letang or Goligoski?

    We can’t honestly look at Mason Raymond and say he’s a better LW, Hall has his warts and defense is certainly one of them but how much of this is a team stat? How much is Hall trying to do too much on his own or cheating?

    Basically what I’m getting at or asking is how much weight is put in with line mates and team vs level of competition? Really, he should be getting killed.


  2. He should be getting killed and he is.

    Benn didn’t play with Spezza last season…he played with a raw rookie and he still killed it at BOTH ends of the ice.

    Tha Dallas D is no better than the Oilers and yet he still outscored the opposition by a wide margin.

    This is not even close.


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