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Hall, Devils to continue contract negotiations, GM says

Shero will sit down with forward 'sometime later in training camp'

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

BUFFALO -- Taylor Hall will continue to negotiate a contract with the New Jersey Devils during training camp, general manager Ray Shero said Monday.

"Sometime later in training camp we'll sit down," Shero said. "From Taylor's standpoint, I think he's dialed in on himself right now in terms of his game and getting back on the ice after only playing 33 games last year. I look forward to seeing him at training camp. Nothing has really changed since the end of the season in terms of how this is playing out."

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

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 as the NHL most valuable player after getting an NHL career-high 93 points (39 goals, 54 assists) in 76 games and helping the Devils qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in six seasons.

"He's been working out, skating, and we'll kind of see where we go with the exhibition games," Shero said. "Maybe he'll play later on in the exhibition, but I'll leave that up to [coach John Hynes] and our medical staff. But everything is good to go coming into camp. I'm looking forward to it and we'll kind of see how he's doing and then get him game ready maybe for the last few games of exhibition, but we'll see."

The Devils have a seven-game preseason schedule consisting of three home games and four on the road. New Jersey opens the preseason with a split-squad game against the Boston Bruins and at the Montreal Canadiens on Sept. 16.

The Devils will host the Winnipeg Jets in their season opener at Prudential Center on Oct. 4.

"There are different stages of negotiation and at some point, [Hall's] going to play for us and then we'll sort it out," Shero said. "Whether he's signed, we'll see. I look forward to sitting down with him and seeing him back on the ice with us, which will be great. I know he's looking forward to that, too. Ideally, we wanted to give him space this summer anyway, training wise. We've made some additions to try and improve our hockey team and hopefully Taylor will be a big part of this in the future."

New Jersey, which went 31-41-10 last season, 26 points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card from the Eastern Conference, has been among the most active teams during the offseason. The Devils selected center Jack Hughes with the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft on June 21 and acquired defenseman P.K. Subban in a trade with the Nashville Predators the next day. They also signed forward Wayne Simmonds to a one year, $5 million contract July 1 and acquired forward Nikita Gusev in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights on July 29 before signing him to a two-year, $9 million contract the same day.

"It'll be great to see [Hall] on the ice healthy and that's a big step in the right direction for us and for him," Shero said. "We're looking forward to seeing where this goes, but it's going to be one of these things where once we get into camp, at a certain point, it's not going to be a daily topic, I'll tell you that."

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