"But at the same time, it's also somewhat tricky to pinpoint exactly what (Taylor Hall) has been able to accomplish for us.
Unfortunately, he rarely had his best games when we played the toughest teams - when we might've needed it the most - while he always played amazingly well when we were up towards the somewhat (lesser) teams."
Oscar Klefbom? Ben Scrivens? Who's next?!? Mark Fayne? Nail Yakupov? Here I was thinking that there was nothing not to like about the Devils acquisition of someone that's widely considered to be a top 5 left wing in all of hockey, and some of his most relevant former teammates came along and pissed all over my parade route. How could I be so blind to a completely fabricated narrative all this time? Fuck the numerical evidence that proves this allegation to be comically contrived, because the visual evidence collected by two people that couldn't be more qualified to diagnose underperformance should be all the proof you need that Taylor Hall is a sandbagging stat padder.
After all, the defenseman who spent a large majority of last season watching from the press box is the perfect person to be grading that eye test. How could the guy with the bird's eye view not be trusted to accurately analyze every aspect of the game like a hawk? Sure, he's only got 100 NHL games under his belt and is rocking a collective -35, but who better to determine the kettle's blackness than someone whose defense resembles that of a pothole?
Say what you want about Ben Scrivens, but if there's anything that he's all to familiar with it's what it takes to lose. I suppose you could argue that Taylor Hall was too busy leading the team in scoring and magically maintaining a mediocre plus/minus rating while playing in front of a goalie that was stopping less than 90% of his shots against and letting up well over 3 goals a game. However - as far as that goalie is concerned - that doesn't excuse him for his inability to singlehandedly lead one of the most defunct franchises in professional sports to victories over the best the NHL has to offer.
In all seriousness though, can we get some more credible critiques? I'm all for giving Taylor Hall as much billboard material as possible heading into next season, but unsubstantiated devaluations from a 23 year old injury prone defenseman that's accomplished nothing and a goaltender that sucked his way overseas are no more than a whisper in the wind. The weight of those words rivals that of hot air. Can we get this man some real motivation?! How is he supposed to be more driven when his primary catalyst is slights from two players whose careers are either stuck in neutral or rapidly moving in reverse?
Sidenote: I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love everything about Adam Larsson and I wish him the best going forward. That's why it truly saddens me that he's set to spend the next 5 years facing undue scrutiny in an environment that hasn't been what's best for a young, promising player since the 80's. Hopefully they don't kill his smile like they do the future of every other flawless, beaming prospect in hockey...