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Hall wants to stay with Bruins, says fit more important than money

'You want to find a home for the next few years here,' pending free agent forward states

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / Staff Writer

Taylor Hall isn't sure what his next contract will look like but said Friday he is less concerned about money than he is about finding the right fit, and hopes that will be with the Boston Bruins. 

The forward, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 28, played well for the Bruins after being acquired April 12 with forward Curtis Lazar in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres for forward Anders Bjork and a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. 

"I don't even know what my value is at this point," Hall said. "I feel like I had two different seasons. But I'm not looking to absolutely maximize my value at this point in my career. I've been fortunate enough to make some good money in this league, and at this point it's about more of a fit for me than maybe money or a long-term thing. You want to find a home for the next few years here."

The 29-year-old scored 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in 16 games with the Bruins and five points (three goals, two assists) in 11 Stanley Cup Playoff games before they lost in six games to the New York Islanders in the Stanley Cup Second Round. He scored 19 points (two goals, 17 assists) in 37 games for the Sabres after he signed a one-year, $8 million contract with them Oct. 11.

Hall has scored 596 points (228 goals, 368 assists) in 680 NHL games through 11 seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, Arizona Coyotes, Sabres and Bruins and 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 25 playoff games. He won the Hart Trophy voted as NHL most valuable player with the Devils in 2017-18, when he scored an NHL career-high 93 points (39 goals, 54 assists).

He said he long wanted to play for the Bruins and has made no secret about his desire to remain with Boston.

"I see a fit and hopefully they feel the same," Hall said. "We'll let the dust settle on everything this year. I'm sure they have a lot of stuff going on and some other guys that have been here longer than me that they have to worry about and then we'll figure that out, but hopefully we can make something work."

Among the other pending unrestricted free agents in Boston is Hall's center on the second line, David Krejci, whom he became close with over the past few months. Krejci echoed Hall's sentiment that money will not be the driving factor in his next contract. 

"It's not about money," Krejci said. "That's all I can tell you. My next deal's not going to be based on money."

The 35-year-old said he has a lot to think about in regard to his future, acknowledging that he hasn't even been able to give his parents a straight answer.

"Today, I can tell you it's not going to be about money," he said. "And at the same time, I just can't see myself playing for a different team. We'll see what happens. I don't even know."

Krejci has scored 730 points (215 goals, 515 assists) in 962 NHL games in 15 seasons with the Bruins, and 124 points (42 goals, 82 assists) in 156 playoff games. He won the Stanley Cup with Boston in 2011.

This season, he scored 44 points (eight goals, 36 assists) in 51 games, and nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 11 playoff games.

Krejci said there have been no discussions about a contract so far, with him wanting to focus on the season.

"I've thought about it a lot, not just the last couple days, the whole season pretty much," Krejci said. "But yeah, I mean I'm not going to give you an answer right now. I'm going to need a few weeks, think about lots of things, talk to lots of people. I love Boston. We'll see what happens."

Krejci has said he is open to finishing his career playing in his native Czech Republic and that he would like his children to learn the language so they can speak to his parents. But he may not be ready for that stage of his career yet. 

"This is my home," he said. "I just don't see myself playing anywhere else."

The Bruins have decisions to make regarding other pending unrestricted free agents, including forward Sean Kuraly, defensemen Mike Reilly and Kevan Miller and goalies Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak.

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