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Hall happy with Devils' additions of Hughes, Subban

New talent could entice forward to sign long-term extension

by Mike Zeisberger @Zeisberger / NHL.com Staff Writer

OAKVILLE, Ontario -- Taylor Hall said new teammates Jack Hughes and P.K. Subban add to the appeal of playing for the New Jersey Devils.

Whether that is enough to entice Hall, who can become an unrestricted free agent next year, to sign a long-term contract extension remains to be seen, but it definitely boosted the forward's outlook for next season.

"I've always liked it in New Jersey," Hall said Thursday. "That's never changed. [It] adds to the talent level and skill level of our team, and as a player in the offseason, that's what you want to see.

"It's exciting. We're going to have more than a couple of new faces going into next year. It's important we get off to a good start, but just injecting some new blood into the team is important."

 

[RELATED: Weekes: Subban 'needs to be hungry' | Subban, Hughes impact on Devils debated]

 

The 27-year-old left wing can sign an extension of up to eight years with the Devils beginning July 1 but said no talks have been held. Devils general manager Ray Shero said last week it was Hall's desire to get through the 2019 NHL Draft, which was last weekend, and the start of free agency July 1, and that formal talks on a contract would begin later in the offseason.

Acquired in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers for defenseman Adam Larsson on June 29, 2016, Hall has one season remaining on a seven-year contract worth $6 million per season he signed with the Oilers on Aug. 22, 2012.

The Devils selected Hughes, a center, with the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft, and one day later acquired Subban, a defenseman, in a trade with the Nashville Predators.

"I'm excited at what's gone on," Hall said. "You want to play on the best team possible. I've played nine seasons and only won one playoff game (in 2018 with New Jersey). You want to be on a team that's not just a playoff team but a Stanley Cup contender every year."

Hall won the Hart Trophy, voted NHL most valuable player, after last season, when the Devils were 44-29-9 and reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs, when they were eliminated in five games in the Eastern Conference First Round by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Hall missed the last 47 games this season, when the Devils were 31-41-10 and finished 15th in the conference, and had arthroscopic surgery to remove fragments in his left knee in February.

He scored 37 points (11 goals, 26 assists) in 33 games one season after scoring an NHL career-high 93 points (39 goals, 54 assists) in 76 games. Hall has played a full season once in nine NHL seasons (2015-16 for Edmonton).

"As I said before, I only have so many years left in this League and so many chances to win a Stanley Cup, it hasn't even come close yet," Hall said. "So I want to make up for lost time but kind of want to be smart with everything that is going on."

Video: Subban excited about trade to Devils

Hall admitted he was thrilled after receiving a call from Shero on Friday regarding a possible trade for Subban.

"He's a great guy!" Hall said enthusiastically. "He'd be a great addition on and off the ice. I'm excited."

New Jersey traded defensemen Steven Santini and Jeremy Davies, a second-round pick in the 2019 draft and a second-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft to Nashville for Subban on Saturday.

"You could tell the excitement that [P.K.] had. He brings so much enthusiasm to his daily life," Hall said. "He's a great guy. I played with him at the [IIHF World Championship] one year (2013 with Canada) and at the [NHL] All-Star Game a couple of times. I'm really excited to play with him."

Hall mentioned what Subban can bring to a New Jersey power play that ranked 21st in the NHL this season (17.7 percent). The Devils lacked quick puck movement and a dominant presence on the point, and Hall said Subban is the perfect solution.

"He's got such a big shot back there," Hall said of Subban, who had 10 power-play points (two goals, eight assists) with Nashville this season and has 178 (45 goals,133 assists) on the man-advantage in his NHL career. "And him carrying the puck up the ice, he's a bit unpredictable with the breakouts and all of that.

"Our power play, we struggled a bit last year. We didn't really have that big shot that can be a threat at times, and I think P.K. is going to bring that. Whether he's playing on the power play or against the other team's top lines, he's going to make everyone else's job easier. It was great. When Ray called me and put that thought out there, there was nothing but excitement."

Video: Hughes' "fired up" to be a Devil, training with Hall

Hall's optimism also is fueled by Hughes; the two skated together last offseason.

"He's a guy that's super skilled," Hall said. "I think he's built for the way the NHL is played right now with how fast he is, how effortlessly he glides along the ice, and obviously his skill level is second to none with his age group. Can't wait to see what he does at the NHL level.

"There might be an adjustment period at the NHL level. There always is with 18-year-olds (Hughes turned 18 on May 14). But he's got the skill level to make up for that. Just seeing him today, he seems to be really excited and seemed to enjoy his visit to the (New Jersey) area. Not only the hockey side of it, but all that the area had to offer. Great to hear."

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