Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Hall an undervalued asset for Flyers

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Out of all the players on the Flyers’ high-priced roster, few provide a better bang for the buck than center Adam Hall.

Hall an undervalued asset for Flyers

Flyers forward Adam Hall. (Elsa/Getty Images)
Flyers forward Adam Hall. (Elsa/Getty Images)

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Out of all the players on the Flyers’ high-priced roster, few provide a better bang for the buck than center Adam Hall.

Hall, 33, chipped in with his third goal of the season on Tuesday night against the Red Wings - a feather in the cap for a Michigan native who hasn’t scored more than twice in any season since 2010-11.

Hall had just two goals in his past 94 NHL games. His line got a speed boost with the addition of Michael Raffl on Tuesday night.

Yet, his goal scoring prowess isn’t what makes Hall valuable to the Flyers. He does just about everything well for the Flyers in a no-maintenance fashion.

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His stats bear out that he is one of just a handful of players who shows up every night ready to play. Hall leads the Flyers in face-offs (59.8 percent, 205-for-343) while taking 10.8 percent of the team’s overall draws. He plays nearly a third (3:16) of his average time on ice (9:43) on the penalty kill, which explains why he has registered 54 hits and 24 blocked shots.

Hall’s biggest attribute is his solid defensive play. Among forwards who have played at least 25 games this season, Hall is 11th in the NHL in fewest giveaways.

NHL GIVEAWAY LEADERS
minimum 25 games played

1. Krys Barch (FLA) - 0
1. Mike Brown (SJS) - 0
3. Brandon Bollig (CHI) - 1
3. Zenon Konopka (BUF) - 1
3. Cody McCormick (BUF) - 1
3. Cody McLeod (COL) - 1
3. Magnus Paajarvi (STL) - 1
3. David Savard (CBJ) - 1
3. Jordan Szwarz (PHX) - 1
3. Aaron Volpatti (WSH) - 1
11. Adam Hall (PHI) - 2

Among that crowd, onlySavard (751) has played more total minutes this season than Hall (506). McLeod is second with 472 minutes.

On a turnover-laden team, his play stands out. To put his numbers in perspective, only two other full-time Flyers - Jay Rosehill (3) and Zac Rinaldo (4) - have giveaway numbers in single digits, and they both play roughly half the minutes Hall does nightly and have played in significantly fewer games.

Defensemen Braydon Coburn and Nick Grossmann are tied for the team lead in giveaways with 30.

Yes, Hall has a team-worst minus-14 rating, but the flaws in that stat do not take into account the quality of competition he is facing, the quality of his linemates and their play, the amount of time he starts a shift in his own zone, and even the goals against scored a second or two after a penalty kill expires and he is still on the ice.

A much more important ratio: Hall is actually plus-8 on in the turnover battle this season. 

“We just kind of went through our systems, but it was just attention to detail and compete level, battle level,” Hall said of the Flyers’ 5-0 shutout of the Red Wings. “A lot of times, it’s not rocket science. It’s just how much you actually want to compete for it.”

Hall, a Michigan State grad and decent scorer at the NCAA level, will earn $600,000 for his services this season - the smallest salary on the team other Rinaldo. Danny Briere will earn more money ($800,000) to play for the Canadiens this season.

He landed with the Flyers last spring, a waiver wire pickup from Tampa Bay. Hall played for Peter Laviolette at the 2004 World Championships in Prague, a team full of no-name profesional players that won bronze by upsetting the Czech Republic in a hostile environment.

Laviolette called that bronze medal one of the proudest memories of his Stanley Cup-winning career.

Sometimes, it just goes to show that on a roster teeming with long-term contracts, it is the small-time players who have the most to play for nightly. They are the ones who probably deserve a little more security.

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers

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Frank Seravalli Daily News Sports Columnist
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