Are the Toronto Maple Leafs finally about to beat the Boston Bruins at something?
On Wednesday, TSN NHL Insider Darren Dreger reported that the Toronto Maple Leafs are amongst a group of teams that are kicking the tires on trying to sign Boston Bruins forward Taylor Hall if he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 28.
“(Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has) engaged in discussions about an extension for Taylor Hall with his agent Darren Ferris,” Dreger said. “This shouldn’t come as breaking news, there was interest from the Boston standpoint prior to making the trade with the Buffalo Sabres.
But there’s outside interest as well, including from the Toronto Maple Leafs, which may surprise some. Toronto has an interest, I’m sure, if they can’t get Zach Hyman signed, or depending on what happens with Freddy Andersen. There are a lot of teams with interest in Taylor Hall but he’d like to extend his time in Boston.”
Dreger is correct. Hall and the Boston Bruins have repeatedly expressed mutual interest in keeping Hall in Black and Gold past this season.
“Nothing’s changed since the last time I talked about this. But yeah, I see a fit and hopefully, they feel the same,” Hall said back on June 11 in his exit Zoom call with the media. “We’ll let the dust settle on everything this year, I’m sure they have a lot of stuff going on and some other guys that have been here longer than me that they have to worry about. Then we’ll figure that out, but hopefully, we can make something work. That’s my goal and like I said, hopefully, we can make that happen.”
Hall, who vetoed a trade to the Vegas Golden Knights so he could be dealt to the Boston Bruins, even indicated that he would be willing to give the Boston Bruins a discount if they’re willing to lock him up for more than just one more season. At this point in his career and after the season he had in Buffalo before coming to the Bruins, stability, and winning are more important than money.
“I don’t even know what my value is, at this point. I feel like I had two different seasons. I’m not looking to absolutely maximize my value at this point in my career,” Hall said in the same Zoom call. “I’ve been fortunate enough to make some good money in this league, and at this point, it’s about more of a fit for me than maybe money or a long-term thing. You want to find a home for the next few years here and we’ll see what happens.”
That had to be music to Sweeney’s ears but if he’s not careful and waits too long, could Hall be singing a different tune? It will be an interesting balancing act for the Bruins since they’d prefer not to sign Hall until after the NHL Expansion Draft so they won’t have to protect him and eat up a spot on their protected list. Could the Bruins decide to trade for disgruntled St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko and let Hall walk if the Leafs knock his socks off with an offer? Or, as Joe Haggerty wrote Thursday, could Sweeney swing for the fences, acquire Tarasenko and then sign Hall?
Buckle up, with the Stanley Cup hoisted Wednesday night, the Boston Bruins’ and the NHL offseason has officially begun!