From now until the beginning of training camp, Boston Hockey Now is profiling players who will be on, or have a chance to be on, the 2022-23 Boston Bruins. Today’s player: Taylor Hall.
What Happened Last Year: Hall, 30, is coming off a solid first season in Boston where he hit 20 goals and posted 61 points while making the best of a second line situation where Erik Haula was the center rather than David Krejci.
It certainly wasn’t the Hart Trophy season that he had with the New Jersey Devils, but that’s beginning to look more and more like an aberration season rather than what the former No. 1 overall pick is capable of on a regular basis. The good news is that Hall developed a very good rapport with David Pastrnak as two speedy wingers capable of scoring while going up and down the ice, and Hall even began to embrace parts of the cycle game late in the season as the Black and Gold geared up for the playoffs.
Hall chipped in a couple of goals and four points in the seven game first round playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes and generally played well after a slow start while the Boston Bruins coaching staff figured out line combinations that worked.
Questions To Be Answered This Season: The biggest question to answer this season for Hall is just how good he can be if he gets a full season bombing down the left wing with David Krejci and David Pastrnak alongside him. Hall had an electric eight goals and 14 points in 16 games with Krejci as his center after being traded to Boston from Buffalo a couple of years ago, and the duo had great chemistry almost immediately as smart forwards with playmaking tendencies.
Add a natural shooter and finisher like Pastrnak that can do it at the most elite level, and that’s got the makings of an outstanding offensive second line provided Hall, Krejci and Pastrnak are also willing to do some of the dirty work required from every line to score hard area goals and win puck battles along the walls.
It actually feels like the Boston Bruins have the best forward personnel they’ve had in a long time in terms of icing two dangerous lines, perhaps dating back to when Krejci had guys like Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton aside him with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on the top line. Now it’s up to Hall and Co. to go out and prove it on the ice once training camp gets going next week with a big emphasis on scoring diversity up and down the lineup.
In Their Words: “It’s given me a boost in my step to know that could be a line that could do a lot of damage. It’s exciting. Personally, I felt like [David Krejci] and I had a lot of chemistry…to get that chemistry back, I don’t think is gonna be too difficult.” –Taylor Hall on reuniting with David Krejci and adding David Pastrnak to that mix as well.
🎥 Taylor Hall on the return of David Krejci: “It’s exciting. Personally, I felt like Krech and I had a lot of chemistry…to get that chemistry back, I don’t think is gonna be too difficult.” pic.twitter.com/b7XXSTN49H
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) September 15, 2022
Overall Outlook: At 30 years old and in the middle of a long-term contract, Hall should be primed for a massive season riding alongside Krejci and Pastrnak, and the Boston Bruins are going to need it from him at the start of the season when Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy and others will start the year on the shelf.
Hall looks to be in great shape, certainly is happy that he has both Krejci and Pastrnak on his line to start and feels that personal responsibility to be at his best to start the season to help an undermanned Boston Bruins crew get off to a good start. With the former first overall pick, those kinds of factors seem to be just as important to his success on the ice as anything else. So it all should bode well for Hall to improve on his 20 goals and 61 points last season and perhaps get close to the 25 goals and 70 plus points the B’s were hoping for when they acquired him in the first place.