Reader Rating: 8.0
SCOC Rating: 7.8
The Bruins had long been searching for a top winger to play with David Krejci, and in Taylor Hall, they found one.
After snubbing the Bruins in free agency the previous off-season by electing to sign with the Buffalo Sabres and then experiencing tumultuous 37 games in Buffalo, Hall breathed a sign of relief when he became a Boston Bruin at the trade deadline — and had new life breathed into his game.
In Buffalo, Hall failed to click with Jack Eichel and couldn’t find his place on the Sabres’ power play either. In 37 games with Buffalo, Hall recorded 2 goals and 17 assists, which included just 6 power play points. He was also a lousy -21.
Because of his struggles in Buffalo, many Bruins fans were hesitant to trade for Hall, especially when the price was reportedly a first-round pick, a solid prospect, and an NHL-ready player prior to the trade deadline.
However, when the Bruins were able to trade for the talented winger and Curtis Lazar for Anders Bjork and a second-round pick, Bruins’ fans were more than happy to take a chance on Hall.
And it definitely panned out for the Bruins. Hall was slotted next to David Krejci and Craig Smith, and the trio found instant chemistry. In his 16 regular season games with the B’s, Hall scored 8 times and added 6 more assists, while Krejci would put up 21 points, and Smith added 5 goals and 5 assists over that same period.
Going into the playoffs last year, the Bruins had a very dangerous second line for the first time in what seemed like forever.
But if there was one knock on Hall’s first season in Boston, it might be his performance in the playoffs. Against the Capitals in Round 1, Hall scored twice and added an assist in the 5 game series; not too bad, really.
But against the Islanders, Hall was only able to manage a goal and an assist in 6 games, with no points coming in the last three games to go along with a -5 rating.
While Hall certainly cannot be blamed for the Bruins’ second-round exit, it may be what dragged down his rating both from the readers and SCOC staff.
Going into next season, Bruins fans got their wish when Hall re-signed with Boston for 4 more years at a very reasonable $6 million AAV.
The big problem, however, is that Hall’s former linemate Krejci will not be joining him next year (or in any of the other years of his contract, barring something drastic).
Sadly, Krejci’s departure to play at home in the Czech Republic leaves a very big question mark in his place, with the guy who’s going to center Hall next season remaining very uncertain at the moment.
The Bruins have options in Charlie Coyle, Nick Foligno, and Erik Haula, but it will be a tough ask for any of them to have the same chemistry Hall and Krejci had.
While were all trying to figure out who’s going to play 2C with Hall, let’s just enjoy Hall’s eight regular season goals below: