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TimeJul 22, 2016

Hall v Larsson - Apples and Oranges

Photo: Chris Austin/Icon Sportswire

Comparing an offensive forward to a defensive defenseman is a bit of a challenge but still manageable with the right approach. The two players function very differently but both contribute at a specific level in comparison to other players at their position.

The comparison process is straight forward. We use independent play-by-play data to rank all forwards and all defensemen in various areas of the game, starting with offense, defense and into much more detail. Then we use each player’s rank among the players at their respective positions, wing and defense, to come up with a percentile. That percentile allows us to compare where Taylor Hall falls in relation to wingers as compared to where Adam Larsson falls in relation to defensemen.

Here are the 20,000 foot results for the 14/15 and 15/16 seasons combined, for Hall among wingers, and Larsson among defensemen:

On a ‘per game’ percentile rank:

Overall - Hall 91.6, Larsson 67.6

Offense - Hall 96.5, Larsson 45.6

Defense - Larsson 89.2, Hall 60.1

On a ‘per 10minute’ percentile rank at even strength:

Overall – Hall 90.1, Larsson 59.2

Offense – Hall 93.8, Larsson 42.4

Defense – Larsson 76^, Hall 48.2

^ This excludes Larsson’s PK contributions, where he ranks in the 96.8 percentile

Hall ranks considerably higher among wingers than Larsson does among defensemen in Overall and Offense. No surprise Larsson ranks significantly higher on Defense, particularly when PK contributions are included. He ranks 8th among all defensemen on the PK in the last two years.

This was a ‘need based’ trade where Edmonton was looking to upgrade their defense, specifically the defense of their defense. The addition of Larsson should help the Oiler's blueline, especially if he can be a catalyst in helping spread defensive responsibility among the ranks.

On a very strong defensive team that was sorely missing offense, New Jersey should be well equipped to manage Hall's relative defensive weakness and benefit from his elite offensive contributions.

We will dig a bit deeper into each player’s contributions and what effect the switch will have on their respective teams.



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