Prior to the NHL Draft, New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall made it clear that he was in no rush to sign a contraction extension once he became eligible to do so on July 1. However, the Devils are making it a little easier now for Hall to re-sign long term as the team drafted Jack Hughes with the number one overall pick and traded for defenseman P.K. Subban.
Devils General Manager Ray Shero still has work to do in constructing his team, but plans on speaking with Hall again once free agency period begins. If Hall does remain with the Devils, he has the option to remain with the team for the next eight years.
“It’s important for me to be able to sit down with (managing partners) Josh [Harris] and David [Blitzer], and then go to Taylor and say, ‘OK, here’s where we are as a franchise,’” Shero told the media on Saturday. “We’re a little different today than we were three days ago or two days ago. ‘Here’s what we’re looking to do, here’s what we have.’ And I want to hear from him and what’s important to him.”
The Devils missed the playoffs in the 2018-19 season, a year after making the playoffs for the first time since 2012, and Taylor Hall played a crucial role in the team’s resurgence back to the playoffs. Hall won the Hart Trophy as the most valuable player in the league after he recorded 93 points (39 goals, 54 assists) in 76 games played with the Devils as he finished 41 points ahead of the next player on the roster.
Hall, who as drafted number one overall by the Edmonton Oilers back in 2010, came over to the Devils in a blockbuster trade in June of 2016. While it took some time for Hall to adjust to New Jersey, he was able to flourish under the guidance of head coach John Hynes. The relationship that Hynes and Hall has built has given him the confidence to believe in the system and the direction the team is heading in.
While it was not the season Hall wanted, as he missed the last 47 games of the season and had arthroscopic knee surgery in February, Hall believes in the climate and culture the team is building and would like to be a part to be a part of it going forward.
“We have the culture and character in our locker room but at this point in time, in my opinion, we lack some talent in positions,” Hall told the media back on April 8 after the Devils cleaned out their lockers for the season. “Whether it’s the players on our team getting better and improving, or from the outside. The great part is we have a culture in our locker room that’s fun to be around and conducive to success and hard-working people.”
Acquiring Key Pieces
The good sign for the Devils is that Hall was involved in the trade for Subban back on Saturday during the NHL Draft.
“I talked to Taylor before we did this because he knows P.K., and he was really supportive, which I was hopeful,” Shero told the media. “I wasn’t sure what I would have done if he wasn’t. We want to improve the franchise. Of course, we want Taylor to stay. Of course. We know that. He’s under contract for another year.”
With the acquisition of Subban and the addition of Jack Hughes, who the Devils believe will be in the lineup come opening night against the Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 4, the Devils have the makings are being a good team this season. The Devils will look to make even more moves this off-season to prove to Hall they are a contending team. The Devils have $26 million in salary cap space to use as free agency begins on July 1.
With a healthy Hall back in the lineup, the Devils have the chance of making the playoffs once again. Depending on what other moves the Devils make, the decision for Hall to sign a long term extension has become a lot easier.
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