Taylor Hall is doing his best not only make New Jersey his permanent home but the Devils a serious Stanley Cup Contender.
Christmas came early for the New Jersey Devils and their fans, but it didn’t come in a win or even anything that happened on the ice.
Ken Campbell of The Hockey News reported that Taylor Hall is down with staying with the Devils. “Anything different from New Jersey would feel weird now. And that’s a good thing,” Hall was quoted as saying Campbell’s piece.
This is probably the best news surrounding Hall since reading this Bob McKenzie tweet.
Trade is one for one: Adam Larsson for Taylor Hall.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 29, 2016
Although Hall led the Devils in points last season, there were always rumblings of him being unhappy in New Jersey and, with his contract expiring after the 2019-20 campaign, there was no sign that Hall would re-sign with the Devils. There was fear that he would move on to a different team, one of his choosing. Even though there is obviously nothing inked past the 2020 season, Hall gave an indirect assurance saying that he enjoyed living, and playing in New Jersey.
A lot of credit has to go to Ray Shero, considering he had a five-plus hour dinner exit meeting with Hall where a lot was discussed. In the meeting, Shero asked Hall straight up “where he thought his game was, on a percentage basis.” Hall asked Shero to go first and said 35 percent. Hall thought it was closer to fifty so they agreed to meet in the middle. Shero realizes the talent that comes with Taylor Hall and doesn’t want him to just become content with losing.
That is not the culture that Shero is trying to bring to this organization. Shero challenged Hall to get better, and Hall is meeting the challenge and exceeding his incredibly high expectations.
It would be really easy for Hall to collect his paycheck while here and move on to a contender but he clearly is not doing that. This season, Hall is a point per game player, posting 11 goals and 21 assists in 32 games. He is leading a team that is jostling for first place in arguably the toughest division in hockey.
If the Devils can reach the playoffs for the first time since their 2011-12 campaign, it would be Taylor Hall’s first playoff appearance in his six-year NHL career. The ultimate goal for any hockey player is to win a Stanley Cup and he has yet to sniff the chance at playing for it, through no fault of his own. In his career, Hall has 328 points in 381 NHL games, and every team he has played for has been just dreadful.
If the Devils are going to make the playoffs this season, it will be on the shoulders of Taylor Hall. It can also be safe to assume that Hall is likely here for the long haul, and when the Devils make the Stanley Cup next, he will be a key contributor to that team.