NEWARK, NJ - The Devils held their first scrimmage of camp and all eyes were on how Taylor Hall would respond. It was our first real opportunity to see the dynamic forward in action since a knee injury limited him to 33 games last season.
Video: ANALYSIS | Saturday's Scrimmage
How did he perform? Read on for that, plus two more things to take from Saturday at training camp.
1. HALL LOOKS HEALTHY
It was evident to those watching on that Hall looked good in the scrimmage. He was flying around and holding the puck through the offensive zone. It looks like he hasn't lost a step.
Hall said after the skate that he was a little "rusty" but his teammates thought otherwise.
"Oh, he was so good, man," said Jesper Boqvist. "It was my first time being on the ice with him and [you can see] how good he is in the tight areas and how fast he is. He's so good."
Video: RAW | Taylor Hall
This is a good sign for the Devils, although you can expect the organization to not rush anything with their star forward. The plan, as of the first day of training camp, is for Hall to sit out of exhibition play until later in the schedule.
"I felt fine," said Hall. "I mean, definitely rusty and definitely not where you want to be, but that's what training camp is for is: to get the rust out and to push yourself a little bit, get familiar with the players and the battles, and to put yourself in uncomfortable spots physically and mentally and see how you respond."
The response on Saturday was good.
2. BOQVIST MAKES A STATEMENT
With two goals in the opening minutes of Saturday's scrimmage, Boqvist made a statement of his own. The young forward is competing for a roster spot with the Devils, and showed on Saturday that he's serious about it.
Video: RAW | Boqvist 9.14.19
"Obviously, it's only a practice scrimmage, but I have to be as good as I can every second out there. So I'm trying to do my best," Boqvist said.
While Boqvist liked Hall's game in the scrimmage, Hall returned the compliments.
"He looked really good," said Hall. "He gave me a couple of minuses there early on. He looks like a smart player, a guy that he gets a burst of speed as soon as the puck touches his stick and those are always fun guys to watch, fun guys to play with. Good first day for him from what I saw, for sure."
3. SMITH STEPS IT UP
Ty Smith is another young player looking to make the jump to the NHL this season and the defenseman scored late in the scrimmage from right out in front. For Smith, his passes were on the tape and his skating was on point.
It was a step up in energy and efficiency from his rookie tournament in Buffalo, perhaps due to the higher level of competition and the higher stakes.
"He really seems to have upped his game on his first day of camp and that bodes well for him," said Team Reporter Amanda Stein. "He's really trying to show he learned enough last year in junior to make this team."