HALL VS SEGUIN VS SKINNER: THE STUPIDEST NHL DEBATE OF THE LAST TWO YEARS (PART 5)

Skinner, Seguin & Hall

In the last instalment, I looked at the career averages of the three phenoms thus far in their young careers.  The conclusion was, obviously in my eyes, that all three of Hall, Seguin, and Skinner look very good, each of them having performed at a very high level overall.

In this instalment, I won’t be looking at “dispelling the myths behind the debate” as I stated I would be last time, but wanted to look at a couple more sets of statistics (stick with me here!), just to place their accomplishments in to some sort of greater context.

Quality of Competition

The first set of stats to be looked at will be Quality of Competition.  However, not the QoC I used in my previous analysis of the three, in which the Quality of Competition was being judged in terms of Relative Corsi (i.e. total shots taken adjusted relative to how the team did without said player on the ice).  This QoC, or QualComp, will be judged purely by Time On Ice.  This was suggested by, and all subsequent QoC charts in this piece are courtesy of, the brilliant blogger Eric T, from NHL Numbers.  Eric came to the conclusion that, in general, how good a player is can usually be judged by simply how much time on the ice he is entrusted with by his coach.  Simply put, the better a player is – particularly defensively – the more situations he is put in, and the more minutes he plays.  Of course this isn’t always the case, as some players get ice time no matter how unjustified it is, but over the course of a season the numbers clear up to show a general picture of how good the competition was that a player was facing.

These charts are particularly interesting, because they actually split the QualComp for the forwards and the QualComp for the d-men.  This opens up more discussion, because some players will face poor forward competition, but the top defence pairing – or vice versa.  Without further ado, here are the 2011-12 charts for Boston, Carolina, and Edmonton (credit for all charts goes to Eric T):

Edmonton QoC TOI

Boston QoC TOI

Carolina QoC TOI

  • Hall played the best defenceman of the three, just ahead of Seguin.
  • Seguin played slighly better forwards than Hall did, but not by much.
  • Skinner was behind both of the other two; he wasn’t really close, but he’s not really far behind either.
  • Hall, along with consistent running-mate Jordan Eberle, played against better d-men than any of these three, and than anyone else on the Oilers.  This shows that teams were definitely keying in them, putting out the Lidstroms and Webers and Suters of the world to shut them down.  That’s strong confirmation of how Hall is thought of around the league, and the fact he still put up the numbers he did despite that?  That’s testament to his quality.
  • Seguin, along with regular linemates Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, played the toughest d-men than anyone on the Bruins, which like Hall is testament to how good he is.  Bergeron is the reigning Selke Trophy winner, so to see Seguin up there with him is not a surprise given how often they played together, and they were evidently tasked with taking on the best the opposition could offer.
  • Skinner, compared to the rest of his Top 6 team-mates, is relatively protected from the tougher competition, but he’s not massively behind Hall and Seguin – it’s just that he’s not being asked to taken on the toughest competition on his team. 
  • It’s interesting to note the differences in the teams.  Edmonton’s forwards are very scattered, indicating massive variety in terms of Quality of Team; Hall and Eberle were clearly the class of a pretty poor group, and were the players most keyed-in on by other teams.  Boston has three distinct groups – their Top 6 (all very tightly bunched, so sharing the responsibility), and then two groups of the Bottom 6 (the best of whom weren’t playing forwards who were much worse than those that the Top 6 were facing); Seguin is clearly good enough to hang with a very talented Boston forward corps, so whilst you can suggest he is supported by a better team, he is showing himself to not be a slouch in this area.  Carolina is somewhere in between Edmonton and Boston, which fits in with what we’ve discussed in previous instalments, that Skinner is on a team that is better than Edmonton but not as good as Boston, with a fair scatter to their forwards but generally grouped to the right of the graph; Skinner therefore is getting good opportunity to maximise his skills.

How did they rank in relation to their team?

Seeing as they’re not all playing on the same team – and we have discussed how the quality of each team could possibly effect these players’ stats – it’s important to see how each player performed in relation to the rest of the forwards on his team (all “per 60”, Zonestart and Corsi stats are filtered for forwards with at least 50GP – this cuts out players who weren’t regulars for the season).

Hall Seguin Skinner 10-11 Stats Team Rankings

Hall Seguin Skinner 11-12 Stats Team Rankings

  • Seguin’s jump forward is particularly prominent in these tables.  In 10-11 he was among the bottom players on the Bruins in almost every category, yet in 11-12 he leapt forward to become one of the team leaders in each category.  That is a combination of developmental progress, quality of team-mates, and more opportunity.
  • Hall and Skinner made more subtle progress amongst their respective team-mates, but given they were already amongst team leaders in most categories the year before, there wasn’t really much room to improve (in terms of rankings amongst team-mates).
  • It surprised me somewhat to see that Hall was not at the top – although he was near – of the 5v5 scoring stats in either year.  He kind of makes up for that by being a powerplay dynamo, but even strength is where most of the game is played and it is very important to be able to score there.  It’s not as if he’s bad at it though, he’s still very good, and in both years he was never the worst in 5v5 Points Per 60 out of the three guys being examined here – in fact he was right around the same ballpark.  What’s interesting is that on a team as bad as Edmonton, Hall – one of their best players – was NOT leading the team in that area.  In 10-11 he was behind Sam Gagner and Jordan Eberle, whilst in 11-12 he was behind Eberle (who had a monster season).
  • In 5v5 Goals Per 60, Hall was behind Ryan Jones in 10-11 (who had a season most did not foresee, and most did not think would be repeatable), and in 11-12 he was behind all of Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Ben Eager (!?).  Like I said, he’s still good in this area, but not as dominant when compared to his team-mates as Seguin and Skinner are/have been.  Kudos to those two for being genuine go-to guys in that area.
  • Hall absolutely rules the roost on the powerplay, which makes sense given he was drafted as a goal scoring sniper.
  • He also is one of the team leaders in Quality of Competition (CorsiRel), and these two tables indicate that in the context of their teams, Skinner and Seguin were far more sheltered than Hall was.
  • Hall and Skinner are penalty drawing machines, both being massively helpful to their teams in gaining powerplays, particularly Skinner as he doesn’t take many either,  as such not forcing his team to go on the penalty kill much.
  • Seguin looks as though he will be the most important scorer on his team for the foreseeable future.  Boston has many capable offensive guys and good depth (Lucic, Bergeron, Krejci, Marchand, Horton when healthy) but no real standout stars, until Seguin arrived.  Skinner is one of many bonafide scorers (Eric and Jordan Staal, Alex Semin), as is Hall (Eberle, RNH, Yakupov, Hemsky, Gagner).  Seguin and Hall will both be “driving the bus” for their respective teams, the real play-drivers, but Seguin is possibly more important due to the lack of genuine scoring star power on his team.
  • I’m wrestling with the notion about who will be the most complete player of the three.  It is commonly believed that Seguin will be.  However, he is playing with a fairly big zonestart push at the moment, has been sheltered in terms of Quality of Competition (CorsiRel), hasn’t been given any substantial PK time yet, hasn’t played much centre at all (one of the things mistakenly pointed to by many when pointing out how good he is), and his outstanding Plus/Minus is more an indication of how good the Bruins are rather than of how good Seguin is as a two-way player individually.  He’s far from being the problemwith the Bruins (if there is a problem), but he IS far from being a great two-way player, in my opinion.  The potential is there, but it’s a matter of if he’ll ever be put in that position to develop that side of his game.Hall wasn’t ever going to be thought of as a two-way guy, and he likely never will be, but what he does do is taken on some of the toughest competition on the team and smash it into submission, driving the play towards the opposition like a madman.  Like Seguin however, he hasn’t taken much of any PK time (something that, for both players, probably should change – Hall was regularly on the PK rotation in junior apparently, and his speed and tenacity would likely push opposing powerplay units to make mistakes).  He also doesn’t have the greatest plus/minus, but given how bad Edmonton has been that’s kind of explainable.  He also needs to stop getting a zonestart push to see how much he can really handle, and how much he can drive the play when starting in his own zone more often.  He must become a better 5v5 player aswell.

    Skinner is kind of inbetween for me: I don’t see him becoming a two-way force, but I certainly see him becoming a more complete player than he is currently.  He already sees a small bit of time on the PK.  However, he needs to start seeing tougher competition.  He’s doing very well against the players he’s currently facing, and should be ready to take on tougher minutes.

Conclusion:  These guys are all vital cogs on their respective teams.

Without a doubt, all three of these guys have become absolutely vital to their respective teams’ success, a remarkable feat considering how little time they’ve spent in the NHL; none of them are even 21 yet!  They all score, they all drive play in the right direction, they’re all constantly improving – why should there be any discussion whatsoever about “so-and-so is a bust”?  It makes no sense, and is unfair to three pretty incredible young stars.

In Part 6: Dispelling the myths behind the debate.

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