The Bruins announced one of their biggest trades in years on Monday.
Boston acquired forwards Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar from the Sabres for Anders Bjork and a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.
The Bruins are hoping to add scoring depth to a team that’s lacked consistent scoring outside of its top line. Playing for four team, Hall has scored 220 goals over his 11-year NHL career.
Here are five things to know about the new Bruin:
He’s been on the Bruins’ radar for more than a decade
The Hall-to-Boston talk started before the left wing even played in an NHL game. When the Bruins won the No. 2 pick in the lottery preceding the 2010 NHL Draft, a months-long debate began on if the Bruins should hope the Oilers select Tyler Seguin so they could get Hall, or vice versa. Each brought a unique skill set, with Hall showing higher upside as a goal scorer and Seguin showing potential to be a top line center.
The Oilers selected Hall, leaving the Bruins with Seguin.
Hall hit the trade market in 2016, but was traded to the Devils. He was again on the trade market in 2019, but after months of speculation, the Devils shipped him to the Coyotes.
Hall became an unrestricted free agent for the first time in the 2020 offseason, and Hall told reporters Monday he was “really close” to signing with the Bruins in October, but he opted to sign a one-year deal with the Sabres instead.
He was once represented by Bobby Orr
When Hall entered the NHL, his agent was Bruins legend Bobby Orr. Hall wore Orr’s No. 4 in his OHL days through his time in Edmonton.
In the lead-up to the 2010 NHL Draft, Orr hoped his client ended up in the city where he became a hockey legend.
“Hall probably is the best player,” Orr said then. “Hall is the best player. Although I do represent him, I can guarantee he’s a hell of a player. I don’t know if I’ve seen a kid compete like this kid competes – every night, every shift. To him, it doesn’t matter the score, he competes. He’s a heck of a player and I would obviously love to see him here in Boston, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen.”
Hall is no longer represented by Orr and is now a client of Quartexx Management, which is the same agency that represents Patrice Bergeron.
He’s the first former MVP to play in Boston since 2013
The Bruins organization doesn’t have much history with Hart Memorial Trophy winners over the last few decades. Joe Thornton is technically the only Bruin to win the award since the 1970s, but he won it after being traded during the 2005-06 season.
Former MVP winners haven’t spent much time in Boston either. Jaromir Jagr is the last former MVP winner to don the Black and Gold. He was traded to the Bruins in 2013, 14 years after he won the award.
Hall isn’t as far removed from his Hart Trophy win. Hall won the award in 2018 after scoring 39 goals in a 93-point season with the Devils. Hall was also named to his fourth All-Star Game that season and named to the NHL First All-Star Team. Hall was also named an All-Star the following season.
He’s in the midst of one of his worst seasons
In his lone season as a Sabre, Hall scored two goals in 37 games. While stats are expected to be lower this season due to the shortened schedule, Hall’s adjusted total to account for an 82-game season is only four goals, which would be by far the lowest of his career.
However, a fresh start could lead to positive results. Hall played on a Buffalo team that’s by far the worst in the league this season, so far only accruing 26 points and at one point suffering an 18-game losing streak.
In 35 games with the Coyotes last season, Hall scored 10 goals. And while his goal scoring’s been down this season, Hall is still chipping in with assists. His 17 assists led the Sabres and would be the fifth-best on the Bruins.
The Bruins need help on offense. They’ve scored just 71 even-strength goals this season, the second-lowest in the league.
He doesn’t have much playoff experience
For much of his career, Hall has played on teams that haven’t had a lot of success. Hall didn’t make the playoffs in the first seven years of his career.
In Hall’s six seasons in Edmonton, the Oilers were consistently among the league’s worst teams. Edmonton received the No. 1 pick three times after Hall was selected with the top pick in 2010, but that wasn’t enough to help the Oilers reach the playoffs.
It wasn’t until Hall posted the best season of his career in 2017-18 with the Devils when he finally reached the playoffs. However, Hall and the Devils were bounced quickly from the playoffs, losing to the top-seeded Lightning in the first round in five games. Hall put up two goals and four assists in the series.
Hall made it back to the playoffs last season with the Coyotes. Arizona, seeded 11th, knocked out the sixth-seeded Predators in the qualifying round, 3-1. However, Hall’s playoff stay ended shortly after, with the Coyotes losing to the second-seeded Avalanche, 4-1. Hall put up two goals and four assists in the playoffs.