Rory Boylen@RoryBoylenNovember 8, 2019, 1:30 PM
When Taylor Hall was drafted first overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 2010, he was to be the centrepiece of a rebuild that would put them back on the Stanley Cup track. When Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was added as a first rounder the year after, the long-term hope was even brighter. When Nail Yakupov was added first overall in 2012, it’s fair to say there was more pessimism in the air (though hope remained).
Few could have predicted that Hall would be traded out of Edmonton before his first post-entry-level contract with the team expired, and without a single playoff game on his hockeydb page. In the three full seasons he’s spent in New Jersey, he got to the playoffs once and played five games.
Now all the talk around Hall is about what’s next. Scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent next summer, Hall laid his intentions out there last summer. And he sure sounds like a guy who will at least hear out anyone who wants to propose to him during the free-agent negotiating period in June.
“You want to play on the best team possible, and I’ve played nine seasons in the NHL and only won one playoff game. You want to be on a team that’s not only a playoff contender but a playoff contender every year,” he said at the NHLPA’s golf tournament last summer.
“I only have so many more years left in this league, and so many more chances to win a Stanley Cup. It hasn’t even come close yet, so I kinda wanna make up for lost time, but at the same time you wanna be smart with everything that’s going on.”
Hall also cited John Tavares’s decision to leave the New York Islanders via free agency as something that could change the landscape. Where we were surprised by Tavares’s decision, we should be less so about Hall if he gets into late-June unsigned.
So it’s not unfair to think about the possible jerseys Hall may be wearing when the puck drops on the 2020-21 season. It may be that he stays in New Jersey, but just about every team in the league should be interested in adding him.
With that in mind, we’re taking a look at some teams that could conceivably be a fit for Hall when he signs his next contract.