Who's Better: Tyler Seguin, Taylor Hall, or Phil Kessel?
Updated: Oct 4, 2020
In this week’s version of “Who’s Better?”, we’re laying out a doozy for you here. Three players who are all attached, through trades or through the draft, as though destiny wanted us to compare.
The Great Debate of Kessel vs. Seguin continues even ten years after their blockbuster deal. The Great Question of First Overall 2010 Hall vs. Seguin rages on as Hall has now moved on to his fourth franchise with little to show for it in terms of team success.
Taylor Hall (Age: 28): 627 GP, 218 G, 345 A, 563 P, -42 | 0.35 G/GP, 0.90 PPG
Tyler Seguin (Age: 28): 741 GP, 279 G, 356 A, 635 P, +82 | 0.38 G/GP, 0.86 PPG
Phil Kessel (Age: 32): 1,066 GP, 371 G, 490 A, 861 P, -107 | 0.35 G/GP, 0.81 PPG
The Good | Tyler Seguin
It seems as though Tyler Seguin has the most consistency of the group. He leads the pack with 0.38 G/GP, beating out the other two who both sit at a 0.35 G/GP. He has scored over 30 goals five times in his career, including a season with 40. He also boasts the highest +/- of the group with a +82. Seguin’s consistency might suggest he’s the “best player”.
In addition, if we eliminate Seguin’s rookie season in which he scored 22 Points in 74 Games, Seguin has the highest PPG of the trio at a 0.92. This is edging near to “Superstar” Status. Prior to this season, Seguin had six straight 70+ Point Seasons.
In terms of straight numbers and production, Seguin comes out on top, slightly edging out the other two.
The Bad | Taylor Hall
Here are two interesting facts about Taylor Hall:
He was Edmonton’s First Ever First Overall (hard to believe for a team who had many of the Greats)
He has scored over 30 goals only once in his career (in 2017-18 when he won the Hart Trophy)
Hall actually has the highest PPG Career Average of the bunch with a 0.90 PPG over his career, but hold on. He has also played the fewest games. In fact, Taylor Hall has only played an entire season once in his career. Oiler Fans might remember him getting injured after falling face first into the boards during warm up all those years ago.
One wonders what he could have done if he had just skated face first into the boards less often.
The Ugly | Phil Kessel
It’s incredible to me Phil Kessel is “only” 32 years old. It feels like he’s been in the League for ages. He’s gone from upstart, to superstar, to franchise player, to riding shotgun with the “Cros”, to near Conn Smythe Winner, to near irrelevance in the desert. He’s like the opposite of John The Baptist.
Some might even call him a troll after delivering the Stanley Cup to the Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto. Here’s the city which practically ran him out of town calling him “soft” with his dismal -34 performance back in 2014-2015. And here’s Phil Kessel bringing the Cup “home”. A smirk and a provocative wink from the 14th all-time leading American scorer.
Granted, the Hot Dogs Vendors in Toronto are probably lamenting the loss of their biggest customer, it’s still hard to imagine a city turning on a player as quickly as Toronto and Phil “The Thrill”. But the results don’t lie. Stanley Cup Count: Phil Kessel 2, Maple Leafs 0.
Here’s an interesting stat. Here are the Team records with each respectively player on their team:
Taylor Hall: 286-382-101 | Tyler Seguin: 410-283-85 | Phil Kessel: 503-400-117
This may not be exactly 100% accurate as I may have missed some games (not played) due to injury. Even so, the trends are quite apparent. Teams with Taylor Hall have an overall losing record, while teams with Seguin and Kessel have winning records.
Granted, Kessel and Seguin have both played for Boston (boosting up this stat quite significantly). Once again Seguin fares the best out of the three, but can we attribute this to Seguin? Or to the teams of which he has been a part?
Everywhere Hall goes, Teams start to lose, and this is a concern for Taylor Hall fans. This year, Arizona went 14-21-4 with Hall in the lineup. Compare that with 19-16-4 without Hall, and we start to see a pattern emerging.
We’re going to give a slight nod to Seguin here, with points going to Kessel as well.
Taylor Hall with his Hart Trophy has arguably won the biggest of the individual trophies.
Seguin technically has a Cup, albeit in his rookie season where he saw limited playing time. Other than that, he has few accolades on his mantel.
Phil “The Thrill” won the Bill Masterdon Trophy in 2006-07, and has Two Stanley Cups.
The Hardware part of the debate lies clearly in favour of the Kessel, but he also has 4 more seasons in the league than the other two.
Phil Kessel has a Playoff Record which neither of these other guys can touch. 33 Goals, 44 Assists, for 77 Points in 87 Career Playoff Games. This is a higher G/GP (0.38 G/GP) and PPG (0.88 PPG) than his career average, which would suggest Kessel is a clutch player. He was instrumental in the Penguins’ Cup Victories, nearly being named the Conn Smythe. Kessel’s Playoff Career might suggest he is the best, due to his clutch performances.
Seguin’s Playoff Career: 62 GP, 11 G, 21 A, 32 P. This is far, far down from his career average, and might suggest Seguin disappears in the playoffs. In fairness however, most of those Games Played were when he was in Boston seeing limited playing time as a rookie or second/third year role player.
Hall’s Playoff Career isn’t really much of a Career at all. 5 Total Career Playoff Games. 2 Goals, 4 Assists. He actually has over 1.0 PPG in the Playoffs, but in only 5 games. In total, he’s only played 4 more Career Playoff Games than Don Cherry. And Don Cherry was far from being drafted #1 Overall.
Kessel wins this category, and it isn't even close.
Seguin absolutely crushes the other two in the Plus/Minus Category. Seguin: +82, Hall: -42, Kessel: -107.
This would suggest Seguin is the most defensively responsible player. Granted, Seguin has played on more defensive minded teams. Also granted Plus/Minus is sort of a misleading stat.
Having said that, Kessel was a -19 in his final year with the reigning Stanley Cup Champions. On that same team there was Sidney Crosby (+18), Kris Letang (+13), and Brian Dumoulin (+31). How there is one player with a +31, and another player with a -19 on the same team is quite telling. The rumours about Kessel “dogging” it ("hot-dogging it?") on the backcheck may in fact be true.
Each of these players have a claim in this week’s “Who’s Best?”. Hall has the Hart, Seguin has the Stats, and Kessel has the Hardware.
This past season didn’t go well for any of these three players, so it’s hard to get a beat on where they are trending.
It’s hard to argue against Two Cups, and two very clutch performances for Phil “The Thrill”. His Playoff Record and Stats really speak for themselves.
Tyler Seguin has the best Regular Season Statistics. He has also shown the most consistency over his career.
The argument could be made in favour of any of these three. And certainly, any of these three would be welcome on any NHL Team. But a Winner must be declared.
Hall, with the tendency to get injured, and with his poor team performance, finishes 3rd in my mind without question. Which leaves Seguin and Kessel.
If Seguin can lead the Stars to a Cup Victory in the next 4 years, he will overthrow Kessel on the Throne Of The “Good, But Not Great”. Until that time, it’s hard to argue Phil “The Thrill’s” Clutch Playoff Performances.
I therefore declare Phil Kessel the Winner by a hair. This could very quickly change in two years as Dallas seems to be trending up. I want to see Seguin succeed in the Playoffs before I jump off the Hot Dog Bandwagon.
This Week’s Winner: Phil "The Thrill" Kessel.
Grab a hotdog and celebrate folks. If you've never tried the hotdogs of Toronto, you don't know what you are missing.