When you look at this Bruins team, you always wonder is there a sore spot or a negative. In a season full of positives, it has been very tough to find the sore spot. As it currently stands the Boston Bruins (43-8-5) are the best team in hockey and continue to get it done. They have everything from a balanced forward group, solid defence, and superb goaltending. In the midst of a Linus Ullmark Vezina season, a David Pastrnak scoring race, and the return of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci there is not much of a sore spot. However, there is one player that could use a boost. Boston Bruins Taylor Hall needs to get going more.
Boston Bruins Taylor Hall Needs To Find A New Gear
It seems as though the Taylor Hall trade was a lifetime ago. Anders Bjork and a second for Taylor Hall had sent Bruins fans jumping for joy and rightfully so. The team was getting a former Hart Trophy winner and a top six forward and got it for pennies on the dollar. Success for Hall in Boston came immediately. Hall nearly matched his point totals while with Buffalo in just 16 games. He found instant chemistry and followed that up with a 61-point campaign last year. Hall is going to remain in Boston for two more years. But Hall is a player the Bruins could have hit another gear and ramp up his production.
The Season So Far
This years Bruins team is a deep group. Jim Montgomery has found balance in this lineup and it is a recipe that has made this team so good. Boston Bruins Taylor Hall finds himself on the third line with Charlie Coyle and Trent Frederic. Sounds weird right? In fact, it is not weird. Hall has seen time with David Pastrnak and David Krejci, while also seeing time on the top line. His time on those two lines has not worked as well as you’d hope and the chemistry is not there. But with the third line it has worked and it has provided balance.
Alongside Coyle and Frederic, the results have been there as a third line. They have played over 150 minutes together and as a line have scored 11 goals while allowing five. In addition, they have the second best xGoals% (62%) and average 3.33 xgoals for per 60 minutes. As a third line, they mesh well together. Their possession numbers are good overall (54.42 CF), and xGF (62.63%). As a line they average 8.57 expected goals for and have scored 11 and have managed to do good work in the high danger area of the ice. For majority of the year, Hall has had his best work on this line. The biggest production they’ve had consistently came in early December on their Western road trip.
Hall Individually Needs To Get Going
It isn’t for a lack of trying when it comes to Taylor Hall. As it currently stands, Hall has 16 goals, 19 assists, and 35 points. Currently, he is on pace for 51 points. Which is not bad for where he is in the lineup. In fact, Hall is on pace for 23 goals which would be his highest total since the year he won the Hart Trophy. However, his production has been lower than when he started the season. Hall has cooled down since the new year began. He had a monstrous December recording 12 points, but since then he had amassed eight points between January and February and only finding the back of the net three times. For play as dynamic as he is that is not ideal.
His Game As Of Late
As mentioned above, the production has taken a swan dive. With his level of play it has as well. In the month of February here is where he ranks in individual categories:
- Corsi For: 43.83% (second worst)
- XGF%: 44.63% (second worst)
- Scoring Chances For%: 43.84% (second worst)
- HDCF%: 29.17% (second worst) out attempted 7-17
Hall has had trouble possessing the puck and generating anything. In addition, anything of high quality does not come often. By these metrics, Hall has been playing his worst hockey and the worst among the forwards. His center Charlie Coyle has the worst HDCF which does not help. What does not help or work in his favor is that his starts take more place in the neutral zone and defensive zone. It appears he is fighting for possession and chasing than having possession.
It appears that the top line will of course stay intact as evidenced since the return of Jake DeBrusk. The other lines will also appear to stay together. Maybe a spark will come and he will catch lightning in a bottle, but getting Taylor Hall to produce at a higher rate would be huge down the stretch.