Taylor Hall details reasons he chose to sign with Sabers

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When news broke that precious free winger Taylor Hall was signing with the Buffalo Sabers on Sunday night, the first reaction of many hockey players was to be surprised.Hall, who turns 29 in November, had been linked by rumors to playoff regulars like the Avalanche, Bruins and Predators. The Sabers, who hold the league’s longest playoff drought in nine seasons, have barely been considered.

But on Monday, the former top pick went out of his way to explain his decision to sign at Buffalo and it became very clear that it was a game that made sense on many levels.

“People seemed surprised when it came out on Sunday that I had signed with the Sabers. I don’t think they should be, ”Hall wrote in a letter to the Sabers website. “Before free will even began, my agent and I evaluated all the organizations in the league and thought about what it might be like to play there.

“When I watched Buffalo, I saw a coach that I respect and who knows how to get the most out of his players. I’ve seen some elite young talent that will only get better. Saw owners in Terry and Kim Pegula and a general. manager at Kevyn Adams who is determined to succeed. “

Hall and head coach Ralph Krueger have worked together before, when Krueger coached the Oilers in the 2012-13 lockout season. While Krueger only lasted a year as head coach in Edmonton, his ability to get in touch with the players had an impact on Hall and the star winger says he is very excited to work. again with the coach.

“Ralph is a very interesting human being,” Hall said on a Zoom call with reporters. “I think in 2020 a coach like him has the greatest chance to connect with athletes and really improve people.

“The year I had him as a head coach was probably my best year, even though it was a shortened season other than my MVP year. ”

Another reason Hall was drawn to the Sabers was the chance to play with Jack Eichel, one of the top centers in the NHL. Eichel set a career record with 36 goals last year and was four points away from his career record of 82 before the season ended early with the COVID-19 pandemic. While Hall had a year down from his standards last season, scoring just 52 points between the Devils and Coyotes, he is a former Hart Trophy winner with two seasons of at least 80 points on his CV. .

Hall said he has yet to be assured of a spot in Eichel’s wing, but it’s easy to imagine they do a lot of damage together.

“There’s no doubt that (Eichel) being out there is a big reason I picked Buffalo. He’s an incredible hockey player, ”said Hall. “I think he took a big step last year. Now it’s about finding a way to get him into the playoffs and really produce on a stage that I think he deserves. ”

Whenever a top striker like Hall hits the market, they’re expected to get a long-term, well-paying deal somewhere. But at one year and $ 8 million, that can’t be said for Hall’s new contract. Nonetheless, he said he entered the offseason by looking at both long-term and short-term contracts and that once it became clear that the COVID-19 pandemic would limit what teams could deliver, a one-year deal made sense.

“I can’t sit here and complain. I’m playing hockey next year and my salary is $ 8 million, I don’t have much to complain about, ”Hall said.

It’s clear from his comments that Hall is betting on himself to get back to his best score, but he’s also betting he can help the Sabers turn things around. While no one is sure where things will be in a year from now, Hall goes into the season hoping the relationship will fit in and possibly continue for the long haul.

“It’s near my home, it’s near my parents. It’s a place where I could see myself for a while, ”Hall said from his home in Toronto. “Honestly the best thing for both teams is that it’s going really well and I’ve been a Saber for a long time. “



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