Taylor Hall is a member of the Boston Bruins … just six months after he might have expected.
The Bruins on Monday morning traded for Hall, acquiring the former Hart Trophy winner and forward Curtis Lazar from the Buffalo Sabres. For Buffalo, it’s part of yet another teardown amid a miserable season, while the move for Hall represents a chance to play for a team he has had his eye on for a while.
Buffalo signed Hall to a one-year, $8 million deal in October. It seemed like a fine enough move at the time for all parties involved. For Hall, it was a chance to prove himself on a short deal and reenter the market a year later when teams might be a little less hesitant to spend following the pandemic. For the Sabres, it meant signing a former MVP and hope to catch lightning in a bottle while slowly rebuilding.
In the lead-up to Hall putting pen to paper with the Sabres, the Bruins apparently were very much in the mix. There indeed were reports about Boston’s interest in Hall, but there was never anything definitive. But Hall revealed Monday he more or less had one foot in Black and Gold.
“I was ready to come to Boston,” he told reporters Monday on a video call. “It didn’t work out, and then I had to choose between some other options.”
The best option, in Hall’s mind, was the Sabres. Obviously, that hasn’t worked out. Hall has had a miserable season with just two goals and 17 assists, while Buffalo has been historically bad. However, Hall and his representation were smart enough to add a no-movement clause to his contract. That clause ended up giving Hall leverage when things went south, and it became clear the Sabres should trade him.
At that point, Hall, who is open to an extended stay in Boston, knew what he wanted.
“Definitely the no-move really helped me become a Bruin,” he said Monday. “It’s been a team since I knew I’d be traded for the last few weeks, it was a team I really wanted to join and really wanted to be part of.”
Hall has long been impressed by the Bruins and city of Boston. He was in for a pre-draft visit way back in 2010 when he and Tyler Seguin were the consensus Nos. 1 and 2 picks in the draft. Edmonton ended up grabbing Hall, and Boston took Seguin, but Hall liked what he saw.
“I’ve always had a ton of respect for the Bruins organization and the city of Boston,” he said. ” … I loved the fan base and the way they care about hockey. Every time I’ve come to Boston since then, I’ve really enjoyed my time there.”
Given another chance to return, he jumped at the opportunity.
“I was ready to be a Bruin (in the summer), and just some other things didn’t work out, but it wasn’t like there were any hard feelings or anything like that,” he said. “Once I knew that there was a possibility to be traded, Boston was basically No. 1 on the list of teams I wanted to go to. (Buffalo general manager) Kevyn Adams was just fantastic in the way he treated me and the way he went about the situation knowing that I wanted to play for a chance to win the Stanley Cup. He worked it out to a team I really wanted to go to. I’ll always be thankful to him for that.”
So will the Bruins, if this all works out the way everyone in Boston — including Hall — hopes.