It has only been a few weeks since the Boston Bruins acquired star forward Taylor Hall from the Buffalo Sabres at the NHL Trade Deadline, only having to part with forward Anders Bjork and a 2021 Second-Round pick, and it is already looking like an absolute steal.
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From the perspective of the Sabres, they were absolutely fleeced given that they only got a Second-Round selection and a forward in Bjork who hasn’t really panned out in the NHL yet, while they also had to send forward Curtis Lazar over to the Bruins in order to make this deal happen.
Not only that, but Buffalo also retained 50 percent of Hall’s $8 million salary, officially making the experiment to sign the left-wing to a one-year deal back in the offseason a spectacular failure, especially considering that he only recorded 19 points (2 G, 17 A) in 37 games for the Sabres while seeing his shooting percentage drop to an alarming 2.3 percent.
Therefore, it was never going to take much for the Bruins to win this deal and it already looks like a home run given Hall’s immediate impact on this roster, which has led to the B’s going 8-2-0 in their last 10 outings and looking like a lock to make the postseason while still in with a shout of stealing a top-two seed.
Taylor Hall looking like an absolute steal for the red-hot Boston Bruins
It was hardly a secret that Boston was long in desperate need of a legit top-six winger to put on the second-line alongside veteran center David Krejci, and after trying and failing with a number of different personnel, they now appear to have struck gold with Hall.
Despite his struggles in Buffalo and the fact that he is now on his fourth team in just two seasons, the 29-year-old has been a revelation in Boston and it is clear that he’s relishing the change of scenery and the chance to play for a legit contender.
Prior to today’s game against the Sabres, Hall has five goals and three assists for eight points in just 10 games with a plus / minus rating of +9, while his shooting percentage has skyrocketed back up to 14.3 percent.
His offensive metrics have been impressive across the board, including a 64.0 CF% and a 69.5% oZS%, while the former Hart Trophy winner is logging an average of 15:57 minutes of total ice time for the Bruins.
In other words, Hall has been exactly what Boston has needed and he has completely transformed the look of that second-line with his speed, his offensive instincts, his playmaking prowess, his incredible stick-handling ability and his bags of skill and tricks.
He has also elevated the play of Krejci and Craig Smith, and he has developed lethal chemistry with the former as perfectly demonstrated by the below play, where Hall took a pass from Krejci before making a sublime move and then firing one hell of a shot past Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry in a big 3-1 win for the B’s on the road.
Krejci has five goals and four assists in nine games with Hall by his side, while Smith has two goals and three assists over that span. Yeah, you can’t begin to overstate just how big a difference maker Hall has been for that second-line.
Hall has also helped to drive 5-on-5 play for Boston and, as a result, they’ve taken a gigantic leap in that department since the Trade Deadline, now ranking tied second in 5-on-5 goals in the NHL, 2nd in 5-on-5 Goals For %, 4th in 5v5 scoring chances and 3rd in 5v5 shot attempts, categories they ranked in the bottom quarter of the league prior to Hall’s arrival (all stats via Natural Stat Trick).
Basically, the Boston Bruins are finally reaping the rich rewards of adding a potent offensive weapon to their second-line and they have a legit game-changer in Taylor Hall who has been a home run of an acquisition so far. And, if the B’s can sign the forward to a long-term deal in the offseason and if he can help this team win a Stanley Cup in the meantime, then this trade will look even more lopsided if that is even possible at this point.