11:45 AM ET
- Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.
Taylor Hall would like a contract extension with the Boston Bruins, even though the star winger doesn’t want to be the “focal point” of his new team.
The Bruins traded for the 29-year-old left wing on Sunday, sending a 2021 second-round pick and forward Anders Bjork to the Buffalo Sabres for Hall and center Curtis Lazar. Hall becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season.
“I’d love to be a Bruin for a few years,” Hall said. “It’s obviously been a bad year for me personally, and I need to play well. I need to contribute. Most of all, I want to be part of a team that wins games. I really believe we can do that here.”
Hall was the NHL MVP in the 2017-18 season but has struggled to reach those heights again. After failing to secure the long-term contract he was seeking as a free agent last offseason — the Bruins were among his suitors — Hall signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the Sabres. The team struggled mightily and so did Hall: While he has 17 assists, he has just two goals in 37 games this season.
“I’m not the most confident hockey player. Throughout this year, there have been a lot of struggles, and obviously goal scoring has been one of them. I have to find that part of my game back,” he said.
The Sabres informed Hall he would be traded weeks before Monday’s deadline. His contract contains a full no-movement clause. While Hall wouldn’t indicate if he had rejected other trade destinations, he admitted the trade protection helped focus the Sabres’ efforts on a deal with Boston, a place he’s always wanted to play.
“Definitely, the no-move really helped me become a Bruin. Since I knew I was going to be traded for the last few weeks, it was a team that I really wanted to join,” he said.
One reason he wanted to end up on Boston: that it wouldn’t be “Taylor Hall’s team.” The veteran winger said he wanted to play on a team that had other stars to draw the spotlight, allowing him to focus on helping it win.
“I’ve been the focal point on a lot of teams in my career,” he said. “I never made myself the focal point in the situations I was in. The first chance that I got in free agency, I went to Buffalo, a team that had a guy in Jack Eichel, a player that I think is better than myself. I just wanted to be one of the guys. I wanted to be on a successful team.
“Ultimately it didn’t work out in Buffalo. But going to Boston, there are so many great players on that team. Hall of Famers. Seeing these guys, I’m excited to be part of that group and just be one of the guys. I don’t expect to come in and light the league on fire. I want to win games.”