By: Cam Manning | Follow me on Twitter @Cam_Manning133
When Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney pulled the trigger for Buffalo Sabres forward Taylor Hall back in 2021, many Bruins fans were ecstatic, and for good reason. Hall was a former first-overall pick of the Edmonton Oilers back in the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft held at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, California.
This was the draft where the Bruins selected Tyler Seguin with the second overall pick. Hall was a former Hart Trophy winner back with the New Jersey Devils when he recorded his career high in points (93) in 76 games while also leading the Devils back to the playoffs during the 2017-2018 season.
However, injuries and inconsistency after that season diminished Hall’s value as an impact player. Many wondered if the five-time all-star would ever return to his proper form. Hall bounced around from Arizona to Buffalo before being traded to the Bruins in 2021. Since that trade, the 31-year-old has recorded 106 points in 145 regular season games since joining the Bruins. Hall is an elite playmaker with excellent north-to-south speed, but his consistency has remained a caveat in his game as an aging veteran.
The 6′-1″ 210-pound winger recently snapped his 16-game goalless streak in the Bruins’ win over the Montreal Canadiens and is up to 31 points (14 goals, 17 assists) in 48 games played this season. Not too shabby for someone that has been playing third-line minutes this season, but for the Bruins to make a deep run at the Stanley Cup this year, they need more consistency out of Hall.
Hall has had a streaky offensive season with the Bruins. Still, using his blazing speed and excellent skating ability, Hall has been dynamite on the forecheck and backcheck this season, honing in on his 200-foot game. Hall has the skill to be a consistent point-per-game player, but when it comes to playoff time, depth and secondary scoring consistency are so important, especially when you play deeper, faster teams in the playoffs. The main reason the Bruins went out and acquired Hall was to bolster their top nine forward group and add that elite offensive presence that would keep defenses honest.
The Bruins should make a concerted effort to get Hall’s game going in the second half of the season. In Boston’s most recent game versus Tampa Bay, Jim Montgomery did just that. Moving Hall up to the first line to play with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. A spot Hall is not really accustomed to. Since joining the Bruins, Hall has had little ice time with Bergeron and Marchand in five-on-five situations.
Hall logged 17 minutes and 24 seconds of total ice time and didn’t contribute on the scoresheet but also finished with an even plus/minus. Hall only generated one shot on goal versus Tampa Bay and needs to shift back to having that shoot-first mindset. Hall is currently third on the Bruins this season with 119 shots.
With the Boston Bruins posting a historic season so far, there has been minor nitpicking you can do with this team. However, if the Bruins want to hoist the most prestigious trophy in all sports come springtime, they need to make sure their secondary scorers are at the top of their game come playoff time, including Hall.
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