Taylor Hall might not have wanted to be traded by the Boston Bruins, but if he was going to be moved anywhere, having to suit up beside the top pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft and a player destined to be a generational talent in Connor Bedard is not a bad way to go out. Hall was just offered an opportunity to flank one of the best young centers in hockey and while Bedard’s production level is anyone’s guess (he’s yet to play an NHL game), Hall has a lot to look forward to.
When asked about the role he’ll specifically plan when it comes to Bedard, Hall knows there’s likely a reason the Blackhawks traded for him.
Hall said, “With Connor, it’s about just letting him enjoy playing and I think it’s going to be a really fun year on and off the ice.” Hall knows the feeling of being new in the league and feeling overwhelmed as a top overall pick. The pressures that go with it can be immense and it’s nice to a have partner riding shotgun as you grow into your role in the NHL. It’s something Hall hinted he didn’t really have when he first arrived in Edmonton as a draftee of the Oilers.
He noted, “I guess that’s what I wish I had done a little bit more was take it in, enjoy the moment a bit more when I was young, because there was a lot going on.” Hall has two years remaining on his current NHL deal. He’s likely to spend those two years mentoring Bedard and at a cost of $6 million per season, the Blackhawks have a ton of cap room and are happy to pay it.
Along with his leadership and experience, Hall still has the ability to put up 20 goals in a season and the Blackhawks will be counting on some offense from. The hope is that he clicks on the ice with Bedard and has a year more akin to his MVP 2017-18 season in New Jersey.
The team isn’t projected to win a whole lot, but they’ve made significant changes and still have over $12 million in cap space to do more. The Blackhawks are poised to turn things around fairly quickly and build the base for a contending team moving forward.
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