Taylor Hall is spending part of his offseason in Toronto. But he and his fiance, Rachel Rush, plan to buy a house in Boston.
An hour before the NHL Draft on Friday, the Bruins announced a four-year, $24 million contract with the second-line left wing, keeping him here until he is 33 at a team-friendly rate.
Hall’s average annual value ($6 million) comes in behind top-line forwards Patrice Bergeron ($6.785 million), David Pastrnak ($6.67 million) and Brad Marchand ($6.125 million). Those four forwards combined make $25.67 million against the salary cap.
By comparison, the Stanley Cup champion Lightning next year will hand $30.05 million to their top four forwards (Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat). The Maple Leafs will kick $40 million-plus to Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and William Nylander.
According to PuckPedia, Hall’s yearly salaries are $4.5 million, $6 million, $6.25 million and $5.25 million, with $1 million signing bonuses in the middle two seasons. His deal includes a no-move clause next year, with a modified no-trade clause beginning in 2022-23, when he has a 16-team no-trade list. That becomes a 10-team list in the final two years of the pact.
Hall, who turns 30 in November, stood to secure more cash and a longer-term deal on the open market, as he would have been one of the top forwards. But Hall, who made some $52 million in his first 11 years with Edmonton, New Jersey, Arizona and Buffalo, didn’t want to maximize his earnings.
“Honestly, I think most of my focus throughout this whole process was directed at playing for the Boston Bruins next year and for years to come,” Hall said on a Zoom call. He said he knew after “five or six games” here that he wanted to stay.
Skating on David Krejci’s left wing, Hall chipped in 8-6—14 in 16 regular-season games after the April 12 trade from Buffalo, and 3-2—5 in 11 playoff games.
After signing Hall, the Bruins have some $19.1 million in cap space, with 19 players on the projected roster. His centerman, Krejci, is among the key free agents left unsigned.
“I would love to play with David for another year or two, but he’s got his own things that he has to deal with,” Hall said. “I think we’re comfortable with whoever’s going to be there. There’s a lot of good players on that team. I know the organization has a lot of confidence in guys that are able to step up and play in that role. It wasn’t a concern for me, it was more that I wanted to be a Bruin and whatever we can do to win hockey games.”
Bergeron turns 36 on Saturday. Krejci is 35. Injured netminder Tuukka Rask will be 35 in March. Marchand is 33. The Bruins hope Hall can keep the Bruins in contention as the core ages out.
“I think the window is still there, at least for another few years,” Hall said. “In this league, sometimes you get caught up trying to be on the perfect team. I was super happy in Boston. I think we have a great group of guys to accomplish something special.”