Taylor Hall leads the New Jersey Devils this season with 50 points in 45 games. Is this good enough for him to win the Hart Trophy?
Taylor Hall has been one of many bright spots for the 2017-18 New Jersey Devils and is a major reason his club is second in the Metropolitan Division. Hall is 21st in the league in points with 18 goals and 32 assists.
Hall is certainly in the conversation for the league’s MVP. A major question many people will ask is how can the 21st best point-getter in the league win the MVP if players like Nikita Kucherov, Nathan MacKinnon and Alex Ovechkin exist?
For starters, when Hall is out of the lineup the Devils are 1-3-1 with three total points. With Hall, the Devils are 25-13-7 for 57 points. It’s also not just that the Devils record is significantly worse without Hall, but they have trouble scoring without him. This past week without Hall, the Devils scored just two goals in three games. Superman comes back into the lineup against Buffalo and Philadelphia, and the Devils post seven goals.
Hall vs. Kucherov
The Hart Trophy winner this season will likely be Kucherov, but why can’t it be Hall. Tampa Bay is far and away the best team in the league right now and Kuch is a big part of that but without him, you can make the argument that the Lightning would still be at the top of the league.
Tampa Bay has seven players with more points than Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt who sit at second on the Devils with 31. While Hischier and Bratt have both been great this season, they’re still rookies who are learning how to play in the league. Hall has both of these players in the Calder conversation.
Take Kucherov out of the Tampa Bay lineup and they are still competing for the top spot in the Atlantic. If you take Hall out of the Devils lineup, they are mediocre at best. 31 points is tied for 105th in the league.
Another thing to consider when comparing Tampa and New Jersey is Tampa has arguably the best goaltender in the league right now in Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Devils goaltending has been very average this season in comparison to him.
Taylor Hall certainly wouldn’t complain about playing with Jesper Bratt and Nico Hischier, but it’s interesting to think of just how insane his numbers would be if he had different linemates. This is not a knock on either of those players but when you look at the production of Hischier and Bratt versus Steven Stamkos there is no comparison. Stamkos is a top-five player in the league and goes nicely with Kuch.
Both Hischier and Bratt have the ability to get there, just not yet.
Hart Memorial Trophy definition
The definition of the Hart Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the player who is most valuable to his team.The only other player in the top twenty in scoring that you could argue is more valuable to his team is Nathan MacKinnon. Even when you make the Hall MacKinnon comparison, there are three players with more than 31 points, and only one of them is a rookie.
Taylor Hall is straight up carrying the Devils more than any other player is carrying a team. The Devils from top to bottom look lost if he’s not in the lineup. Taylor Hall deserves to be the leagues MVP.