It certainly sounds like there is motivation for the Boston Bruins to keep left winger Taylor Hall after acquiring him at the NHL trade deadline.
The 29-year-old Hall has been excellent at both ends of the ice since arriving last month and posted eight goals and 14 points along with a plus-2 rating in 16 games for the Bruins while riding left wing on the second line with David Krejci. Certainly, the offensive production was exactly what the doctor ordered for the B’s while energizing Krejci at the center position, and his back-checking and second effort work away from the puck has been noteworthy as well.
Hall is on an expiring deal, however, after signing a one-year contract with the Buffalo Sabres and has several times voiced a desire to stick around Boston beyond this season since the trade happened. The Boston Bruins essentially said they were on the same page when talking about Hall’s future on Wednesday afternoon with the caveat that the picture won’t be complete until after the upcoming Stanley Cup playoff run.
“Mainly, [the Hall trade] really solidified some depth from an offensive position,” said Boston Bruins President Cam Neely. “It was a need where we’re getting a little more production 5-on-5 and now teams are not just looking at the Bergeron line, but they’re also looking at Krejci’s line. Whether it’s Coyle, Kuraly or Ritchie, those guys have chipped in recently and adding Lazar means on the fourth line we’re going to have some players that will bring us energy.
“As far as Taylor goes, we’re going to continue to see how things go with the playoffs here. I think we’d like to try and get something done, but that remains to be seen. But it is our hope [to extend the player].”
The hunch here is that Hall would end up on a 3–5-year deal for around the same money ($6-7 million per season) as other players like Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak have agreed to in order to keep together a winning environment in Boston. Certainly Hall has made no secret that he wants to stick around in Boston as well, something he made very clear in his introductory zoom call before he’d even taken a shift with the team.
That feeling has only intensified since he’s found out what it’s like to be a Bruins.
“It’s been 16 games [and] it’s probably been some of the most enjoyable hockey I’ve ever played in my career,” said Hall. “And I really hope that there’s more to come. I know the Bruins’ history and just the aura around the team has been a lot of fun to play for. I love my time here, the city is amazing just walking around and the energy in this area for the team, just in general, has been really fun to be a part of.”
As the Bruins President alluded to, Hall’s presence has pushed his playmaking center into “Playoff Krejci” mode where he’s got 15 assists in the 16 games since the two forwards were paired together following the trade deadline. So, Hall’s presence is essentially making two players much better while transforming the Boston Bruins into a much more difficult team to defend at the time of year where 5-on-5 scoring is tremendously important.