(Photo Credit: Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press)

By: Andrew Taverna | Follow me on Twitter: @andrewtaverna

Rumors and rumblings are swirling around every platform on the internet about a possible Taylor Hall / Bruins deal. While I am with Bruins fans in wanting to see him return, I am far less confident than most of you about that happening. Let’s start by clearing the air. I did write an article in September of 2019 begging Hall to come to Boston. I was so much hoping he would join the Bruins that I later became the center-piece of many anti-Hall takes after he signed in Buffalo. When Hall joined the Bruins, there were four episodes of the Puck Lines Podcast where I went on rants against Hall, but he did what he needed to do to make me stop, which was come to Boston and perform. I want to see Hall back with the Bruins, but I have been clear I am not confident it is as simple as that. 

Listening to 31 thoughts today with Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek, they also didn’t sound so confident. Listen to the show (I’d recommend the entire thing) but specifically around the 34:00 minute mark. In their discussion on Hall, you will hear a comment from Friedman that includes the statement, “there was a time I potentially thought there was a deal in the drawer here. I’m less convinced that’s the case right now”.

Hearing that from guys like Friedman and Marek adds a significant amount of credibility to my point. While I want to see Hall back, I am not confident that you will if he hits free agency. 

So, why would he not come back?

It has been widely reported that Hall has an interest in staying in Boston and that he has been looking to come to Boston for a long time. Hall mentioned that discussions had started in his end-of-year press conference, and he was interested in staying. 

That is great to hear from a player coming off a confidence-building mid-season trade. That said, this is not the first time Hall has made comments about “wanting” certain aspects out of his next deal. When Hall was leaving Arizona and hitting the market, he had this to say, “Any player at this stage in their career that has had the career that I’ve had, 10 seasons, only make the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs twice, that’s really what I’m after,” The 28-year-old continued to say “But yeah, I’d say it’s pretty much all winning. I don’t think the money’s going to be what it was maybe before COVID or before the season, but that’s fine. I think we get paid a lot of money to play a game, and we’ll see what happens.” As I’ve said, that tone is similar to the tone he set with his end-of-year availability with the Bruins, but if you remember correctly, Hall signed a massive eight million dollar one-year deal with Buffalo a couple of months later. 

So, where are we on a Taylor Hall deal?

It would appear the Bruins are offering Hall something in the range of a five million dollar deal, with four to five years of term. According to Andy Strickland, it sounds like the Hall deal is getting closer. 

All of this sounds great, right? Well, if the Bruins are reportedly only offering him four or five years, I think the term might be where Hall and Boston fall into a bit of an issue. If Hall tests the free agency waters, there will likely be a team willing to offer him more term or more money. In a worst-case scenario, there is likely a team that would provide him more of both. Ultimately the decision on whether Hall stays in Boston cannot be a financial one. If Taylor Hall signs with the Boston Bruins, and I sure hope he does, it will be because he is genuinely committed to winning this time and willing to take a Don Sweeney-type deal.