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Hall says contract shouldn't be Devils' top priority now: report

Forward has one season remaining on deal, can sign extension beginning July 1 @NHLdotcom

Taylor Hall believes that the New Jersey Devils have more important things to worry about at this point in the offseason than his contract.

"I'm not the priority right now and I don't really want to be the priority right now," Hall told The Athletic on Tuesday. "They have bigger things to worry about than me."

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

The Devils have 10 picks in the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on June 21-22, including the No. 1 choice after winning the NHL Draft Lottery on April 9. Jack Hughes, who had 112 points (34 goals, 78 assists) in 50 games this season for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program Under-18 team, is projected to be the No. 1 pick.

Darren Ferris, Hall's agent, told Monday that he and Devils general manager Ray Shero have been in communication.

"I'm in contact with Ray, and he and I communicate regularly, and out of respect to the process, I really can't provide any details or any conversations that we engage in," Ferris said. "... It's a decision the player will have to make in time, and there's no pressure into making it. It's just a discussion that is going to be ongoing."

Said Hall: "We never really looked at July 1 as a deadline and Ray hasn't looked at it like that either. The Devils have never been anything but great with me."

The Fourth Period reported Monday that Hall, who won the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP last season, is not interested at this time in signing an extension with New Jersey.

"No idea where [the website] got that from aside from a 'source,'" Shero said in a text message. "Nothing on our end has changed and I have never heard differently from Taylor or Darren Ferris."

Hall missed the Devils' last 47 games and had arthroscopic surgery to remove loose fragments in his left knee in February. He had 37 points (11 goals, 26 assists) in 33 games. The Devils (31-41-10) finished 29th in the NHL and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons.

Ferris said Hall's rehabilitation is going well and he remains on target to be ready for training camp in September.

Hall had an NHL career-high 93 points (39 goals, 54 assists) in 76 games in 2017-18, when he helped the Devils qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

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