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Hall fine if contract talks with Devils extend into regular season

Forward expects full participation in training camp after missing final 47 games in 2018-19 with knee injury

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Taylor Hall said he is fine if contract talks with the New Jersey Devils extend through training camp and into the regular season.

"I think, to be honest, it seems like both sides are OK with going into camp and into the season without a new contract," Hall said Thursday before the start of training camp. "It's really only in the last few years where there's this whole paranoia about players playing the last season of their contract. We have a lot of time. I'm coming off a season where I played 33 games and, I don't want to speak for [general manager Ray Shero], but I think they want to see me play, see how I do and see how I fit in with the team. I'm just as excited to see that as well."

The 27-year-old forward has one season remaining on a seven-year, $42 million contract ($6 million average annual value) he signed with the Edmonton Oilers on Aug. 22, 2012, and can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, 2020. Hall, acquired by New Jersey in a trade with Edmonton for defenseman Adam Larsson on June 29, 2016, can sign an extension of up to eight years at any time.

 

[RELATED: Hall says 'playoffs or bust' for Devils after busy offseason]

 

"I haven't talked to [Ray] personally about it; my agent (Darren Ferris) and him last spoke around July 1, and at that time I think both sides were comfortable just leaving it how it was, and that's kind of where we are now," Hall said.

Shero said he will likely meet with Ferris during training camp.

"We haven't had any negotiations or anything like that," Shero said. "We'll sit down somewhere at the end of the month and just have a conversation, which I said we would have all along, just in terms of where we are as a team, how he feels, and our vision. [Taylor's] most important thing is getting back to training and getting back skating and coming to camp ready to be an NHL player again."

Hall had 37 points (11 goals, 26 assists) last season before missing the final 47 games after having arthroscopic surgery in February to remove fragments from his left knee. In 2017-18, he won the Hart Trophy voted as the NHL most valuable player after getting an NHL career-high 93 points (39 goals, 54 assists) in 76 games.

Video: Taylor Hall comes in at No. 15 on the list

Devils coach John Hynes said he expects Hall to be raring to go.

"I'm really happy for him; I think it was a real struggle mentally for him last year not to be able to come back and play," Hynes said. "He's a competitor. It really wore on him that he couldn't play and couldn't help the team. But he wants to play hockey, he's got a lot of pride, and he's got a lot of pride in our team and in the organization.

"In his press conference (at the end of last season) and my discussions with him, he wants to be on a team that's going to be extremely competitive. We feel like we've done some things in the summer, and while that doesn't guarantee success, it'll be what we do and how we play.

"Taylor's in good shape, and now it's getting him game-ready and practice-ready to perform at the level we need to perform."

Hall said entering the regular season without a contract extension will not be a distraction and he expects to be a full participant in training camp beginning Friday at Prudential Center.

"I think if last year might have been a season where I played 82 games and I was coming in, just like another year, it might be a bit easier for it to be a distraction," he said. "But with everything that I've been through with my knee, and the fact I haven't played hockey (since Dec. 23), that's really my main focus.

"It's pretty easy for me to just be dialed in on playing hockey and playing as well as I can. People are going to talk about it, and I'll try and answer your guys' questions as honestly as possible, but it is what it is. I'm here to play hockey, first and foremost. I'm here to help the team win games and make the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and we'll go from there."

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