New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall is no stranger to the expectations that come with being the No. 1 pick of the NHL Draft, and plans to do his best to help center and Devils teammate Nico Hischier navigate what awaits him this season. When Hall was selected the first pick of the 2010 NHL Draft by the Edmonton Oilers, he found himself burdened by expectations that he would spark a turnaround. But they never got on track during Hall's tenure, and he was traded to the Devils on June 29, 2016. Hischier, the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, will arrive in New Jersey with similar pressure, but Hall and his teammates will attempt to lighten the load. "I don't think anyone is expecting him to score 100 points this season," Hall said Thursday at the annual Smashfest Charity Ping-Pong Challenge. "But we certainly do want him to be a valuable part of our team and to contribute and have some success. It's up to him [how he does], but as a group we have to shelter him a bit and make sure he's comfortable." The pressure facing a No. 1 pick may be more intense now than it was when Hall entered the League, given the success of the past two No. 1 picks, Connor McDavid of the Oilers in 2015 and Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2016. Hall said to expect a young player, no matter his pedigree, to score 40 goals in his rookie season as Matthews did, or win the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP in his second season as McDavid did, is unrealistic. "Not everybody is going to [do that]," said Hall, who played with McDavid in Edmonton two seasons ago. "I think that you have to come in and just worry about yourself as a player, improving in year one, year two, year three and hopefully as the season goes along, [improve] in your first year. "I watched a few clips from [Devils] development camp and [Hischier] looked great. I'm excited to get to camp and play with him. I've heard nothing but good things about him as a player and as a guy. He's a huge addition to our team." Hall is desperate to see the Devils end their five-season Stanley Cup Playoff drought. A veteran of 453 regular-season games, Hall, 25, never has been to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in his seven seasons in the League, and said he's tired of his seasons ending in early April. The Devils had 70 points last season (28-40-14), fewest in the Eastern Conference.
Hall, Devils to lighten Hischier's load in first NHL season
NHL.com | Jul 21