Taylor Hall is healthy and excited about what several months of hard training will do to help him get back to the level he was at when he won the Hart Trophy two years ago.
Hall, who signed a one-year, $8 million contract with the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday, joined co-hosts Dan Rosen and Shawn P. Roarke on the NHL @TheRink podcast this week and discussed another reason why he can’t wait for the 2020-21 season to begin.
“I feel good,” Hall said. “Last offseason wasn’t what I wanted. I had to rehab a knee injury and that really prevented me from training the way that I want. My training is a big part of the way that I play. I play fast and I play physical and if I’m not able to train in a way that’s going to let me play like that, it’s tough. But the last six months, even before the bubble, I was able to train how I wanted to and my body feels really good.”
Hall won the Hart Trophy with the New Jersey Devils in 2017-18, when he scored 93 points (39 goals, 54 assists) in 76 games. A knee injury and surgery limited him to 33 games in 2018-19, when he scored 37 points (11 goals, 26 assists).
Last season, Hall scored 25 points (six goals, 19 assists) in 30 games with the Devils before they traded him to the Arizona Coyotes on Dec. 16. He scored 27 points (10 goals, 17 assists) in 35 games with the Coyotes and six points (two goals, four assists) in nine Stanley Cup Playoff games. Arizona lost in five games to the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference First Round.
Hall chose to sign with the Sabres because of the chance to regain his offensive swagger playing on the same line and power-play unit as center Jack Eichel. He also believes he’s fresher than most 28-year-old players, perhaps because he’s only appeared in 14 NHL postseason games in his 10 seasons.
“There’s a lot of different ways to look at it,” Hall said. “I’ve had some injuries in the past, but I really don’t have the mileage on me that some other players have at my age. I’m really excited for what the future brings for me.”
In addition to talking with Hall, Rosen and Roarke discussed what has happened since the NHL free-agent market opened on Oct. 9, focusing on the Vegas Golden Knights, St. Louis Blues, Boston Bruins, New York Islanders, Edmonton Oilers and the fluid goalie market.
The podcast is free and listeners can subscribe on all podcast platforms. It is also available on NHL.com/multimedia/podcasts and the NHL app.
Listen: New episode of NHL @TheRink