Edmonton Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom recently gave an interview to the Swedish website Hockey Sverige (English translation can be viewed here) and one his comments caught my eye. When asked about the Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson trade, he thought the team had improved and said,
“Taylor has been our best player in recent years, but it’s also hard to tell what he has contributed. He never played his best games against the tougher teams, which we really needed it. However, he was fantastic when we met the little worse [teams].”
It makes sense that players in general will score more points against weaker teams. Weaker teams usually lack depth and don’t have a top goaltender which is a recipe for giving up more goals against. Top players should be able to take advantage of this matchup mismatch. But is there any proof that Hall himself has racked up points against weaker teams but contributed less against stronger teams? Khlefbom has since updated his quote saying all of the Oilers key players have underperformed, but I will investigate his original comment to see if there is any merit behind it.