#71 / Left Wing
Height: 6’1” | Weight: 206 | Born: November 14, 1991
Birthplace: Calgary, AB | Acquired: Traded to Boston in April 2021
Assets: Is an explosive skater with supreme puck skills, natural scoring ability and tremendous determination. Can make spectacular plays look easy. Goes to the net with authority and is a great finisher. Displays constant energy.
Flaws: Has a tendency to play with sheer reckless abandon, which leads to plenty of injuries. Needs a little more work on his defensive-zone coverage in order to maximize output. Could stand to slow his game down just a tad.
Career Potential: Electrifying, star winger.
Why You Should Know Who He Is:
Below is a chart of the Bruins expected goals over this season. See if you can spot when the Bruins acquired Taylor Hall:
That’s quite a spike! Since, acquiring Hall from Buffalo (for a very below-market return), they’ve been able to place him on their second line with David Krejci and Craig Smith. That line, simply put, has been dominant, outscoring teams by a remarkable 13-1 at 5v5 and seeing all of their shot metrics in the upper-60’s.
Hall himself is a dominant player, albeit one that has been a bit misunderstood at times. Even while struggling to score in Buffalo, he consistently tilted the ice in Sabres favor. Since arriving in Boston, Hall has both scored (8 goals at 6 assists in just 16 games) and maintained a possession edge. Hall has been a monster on Boston’s second line, and he’s going to be difficult for the Caps to contain.
How the Caps Can Stop Him: Part of the difficulty in stopping Taylor Hall is that he’s been getting easier matchups being on the second line. When playing Boston, teams typically load up on Boston’s so-called perfection line, leaving Hall in easier matchups. That said, Hall will probably see a lot of the Capitals second defensive pair (likely to be Justin Schultz and Brendan Dillon), who will have to try to keep the puck away from Hall as much as possible. Further, perhaps giving Hall a dose of the Lars Eller-led third line might contain him just a bit.