If you’re a hockey fan who has kept up with the team over the last few years, you’ve probably heard the name “Taylor Hall” a few times. The name first came up when Taylor Hall was drafted first overall in 2012, but he spent most of his time as a captain at the junior level with the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL. After his first few years in the NHL, Hall hit a slump that lasted for years. He bounced around from team to team, and there was even a time where he was a free agent without a contract. In the 2017-2018 season, Hall became a top line player for the New Jersey Devils. As a result, he had break out seasons for both the Devils
Taylor Hall had a long and fruitful career prior to coming to the Boston Bruins. Over the course of those seasons, Hall’s NHL career took him from the Colorado Avalanche to the New Jersey Devils, and finally the Edmonton Oilers, where he had his most productive years.
Taylor Hall was traded from the Buffalo Sabres to the Boston Bruins at the deadline, and it might be the best deal in the NHL this season.
Hall, 29, scored eight goals in 16 regular-season games for the Bruins and two more in a first-round series victory against the Washington Capitals. That puts him in the second round of the playoffs for the first time in his 11-year career. That’s a marked increase from the two goals in 37 games for Buffalo, which equates to a lousy shot percentage of 2.3%.
I think I should have had a better chance to score, he said.
With Hall’s arrival, concerns about Boston’s scoring ability seemed to disappear; before the 29-year-old Bruins arrived, they ranked 19th in the NHL in goals per game. At the end of the season they were in sixth place. Hall loves Boston – the city, the team, the whole atmosphere. He is enjoying himself and has made it clear since his arrival that he wants to stay in Boston for a long time.
I really want to play here, and not just for a year or two, but hopefully longer, Hall said. I don’t even know where I stand at this point, honestly. At the moment I am not worried about my contract, that is something we will decide in the summer. I have much more important things to worry about as a player, as a teammate. I knew it was a great city, but I was surprised to see how much better it was than I had imagined. I hope everything goes well.
To really understand why Hall appreciates this opportunity, you need to know how he got here. For the player at the top of the 2010 squad, it hasn’t been a straight line. So when asked by this reporter, Hall talked about what he’s learned about himself in each of his five NHL stops.
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Before the deadline, a few teams showed interest. I won’t say who it was, but if it worked, I’d go there, he said. I wasn’t just waiting for Boston. I really wanted to be on a playoff team. I really wanted to join a company with a good culture and sustainable benefits. Because I was looking for a place to re-sign, not 20 games to the end of the season.
I’m really glad Boston worked out, but if there had been other places before, I probably wouldn’t have said no and done it anyway.
In fact, Hall doesn’t think the player empowerment movement will be popping up in the NHL anytime soon.
I don’t think he reaches the NBA level – I don’t think he comes close, Hall said. I can’t imagine an NHL player having that kind of impact. NBA players have a lot of influence over NBA general managers and owners, which is great for them. They wield enormous power and are among the greatest – not just athletes, but celebrities in the world. If you listen to a hip-hop song right now, it probably has the name of a basketball player in it. What they have done for social justice is enormous. They have done a lot of good by making themselves available and promoting themselves as players and individuals.
As hockey players, we just haven’t done it, and I don’t know if it will ever be in our DNA to think that way. But who knows? With guys like Aston Matthews and the young guys taking over the league, it will be positive for them to get out more.
For now, Hall is happy to have found a hockey home where he doesn’t always have to be the center of attention.
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Hall also thinks he did well in Boston because the team plays a style that suits him well. We’re an attacking team, we have a strong attack, we put a lot of pressure all over the ice, Hall said.
It also helped that he found common ground with his teammates.
Many people have told me that Krejci can become one of the best centers in the league if he finds partners he can get along with, Hall said. I think you saw that in the last 15 games of the season.
And if Hall and his teammates reach their big goal, the Stanley Cup? Well, maybe it’s mentioned in the song.
I think my name would rhyme with a lot of things, he said. But that hasn’t happened yet.