In a rather brutally honest introductory Zoom call with the Boston media Monday, new Boston Bruins winger Taylor Hall didn’t hide his excitement about finally being able to play for a team that he’s wanted to join in the past and a team that has mutually coveted his services in the past. In fact, Hall made it clear to reporters that if things go the way he hopes in Boston, he won’t hit the unrestricted free-agent market for a second straight year and will sign an extension with the Bruins.
“I’d love to be a Bruin for a few years,” said Hall who can become a UFA again after this season.
After trying to acquire the top pick from the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and the 2018 Hart Trophy winner before the last two NHL Trade Deadlines and then on the free-agent market this past October, the Bruins acquired Taylor Hall, along with center Curtis Lazar, from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for winger Anders Bjork and a 2021 second-round pick in the wee hours of Monday morning.
Taylor Hall explained to the media that he indeed came really close to joining the Bruins as a UFA last October before ultimately signing, a one-year, $8 million contract with the Sabres on October 11. As it has been for the Sabres organization this season, it was a nightmare experience for Hall, who had just two goals and 17 assists in 37 games with the last-place Sabres. When Sabres GM Kevyn Adams approached Hall about waiving his no-movement clause recently, Hall informed the GM he’d be willing to do so and that he’d prefer it be for the Bruins.
“Definitely, the no-move really helped me become a Bruin,” Hall pointed out. “Since I knew I was going to be traded for the last few weeks, it was a team that I really wanted to join. I was ready to come to Boston (in October) and it didn’t work out. It was not like any hard feelings or anything like that. Once I knew there was a possibility I’d be traded, Boston was No. 1 on the list.”
Now, Taylor Hall is hoping he can put not just his time in Buffalo behind him but also the previous two seasons when he struggled to come even close to his Hart Trophy performance for the New Jersey Devils during the 2017-18 season. He knows that in order for the Bruins to grant his wish for an extension, he will need to deliver down the stretch run here and into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“It’s obviously been a bad year for me personally,” the 29-year-old Hall said. “I need to play well. I need to contribute and most of all, I want to be part of a team that wins games. I really believe we can do that here. That’s really just my main goal. I’m not the most confident hockey player. Throughout this year, there have been a lot of struggles, and obviously, goal-scoring has been one of them. I have to find that part of my game back.
Ultimately it didn’t work out in Buffalo. But going to Boston, there are so many great players on that team. Hall of Famers. Seeing these guys, I’m excited to be part of that group and just be one of the guys. I don’t expect to come in and light the league on fire. I want to win games.”
So almost eleven years after the Edmonton Oilers selected Hall with the top overall pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, and the Bruins then took Tyler Seguin with the second pick overall, Taylor Hall is finally a Bruin and hoping to write a redemption song in Boston.