NEWARK, N.J. -- Taylor Hall had about a month to settle down from the shock of being traded from the Edmonton Oilers before being introduced Sunday to New Jersey Devils fans.
During that time, he began to see the positives in his new situation.
"Definitely it was a shocking and overwhelming day (being traded June 29), but a day that I look back on and I'm happy about now, just being here and getting a sense of the city and the vibe and the team, I'm very excited," Hall said.
There was plenty of speculation that the Oilers were going to trade one of their young players, mired in a playoff drought that predates them selecting Hall with the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NHL Draft. But Hall's name wasn't one that typically came up, so though a big Oilers trade wasn't a surprise, his being part of the deal for defenseman Adam Larsson was.
"There were definitely rumors, but you don't actually think it'll happen," Hall said. "You get attached to a team and to a city, and I'm sure the same thing will happen here, I'll have the same connection to this team in a matter of months, but it was just shocking to hear those words and to be traded, but once you get over that and once you start looking at the team and the city and the situation, you get pretty excited, and that's where I'm at now."
Devils forward Adam Henrique has helped make the transition go more smoothly with phone calls that started right after the trade. The two played together for Windsor of the Ontario Hockey League, a team Hall joined in 2007 when he was 15.
Hall also credited Devils general manager Ray Shero and coach John Hynes for taking him to breakfast after he arrived in New Jersey on Friday. Hall said, with no disrespect to the Oilers, that he never had a coach come pick him up in his car, or a meal with a coach and general manager, and the experience went a long way to making him feel welcome.
Hall, 25 on Nov. 14, lamented not being around whenever the Oilers become a contender, and not being able to play in Edmonton's new arena in a home jersey, but he's moved on to looking forward to playing on another up-and-coming team in Prudential Center.
"It didn't work out in Edmonton, or else I wouldn't be here, so I don't want to have to go through that again," Hall said. "But I think this group is maybe just a little bit further along in terms of age, and there's some older guys like [Mike] Cammalleri, like Andy Greene, that have been here quite a while and are established players that I think are really essential in bringing these guys along."
Hall mentioned the Devils' top six forwards, strong defense and goaltender Cory Schneider, who was a surprise guest at the event Sunday, as reasons to feel good about the move.
"We've always been strong defensive team, a team that plays together, that's been our identity, but I think now when you add in a player like this, it gives somebody for the other teams to really consider and game plan against," Schneider said. "We've done a good job in the last couple of years of scoring by committee, and playing as a group, but now when you have that game-breaking-type player, that's something we haven't had now for a couple years."
Hall, who has 328 points in 381 NHL games, has the usual housekeeping items to take care of, like selling his house in Edmonton and finding a place to live in New Jersey.
"It's different, it's not what I'm used to," Hall said. "Even driving along, the toll booth is a very foreign concept to me. I'm used to just kind of driving wherever you want. There's a lot of things are different. But I really do mean it, change is good sometimes. You only grow when you're put in unusual spots, and I'm excited."