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Devils' Taylor Hall opts for 'fresh start' with No. 9

Forward had to change from No. 4 he had worn with Oilers

NHL.com @NHL

Left wing Taylor Hall will wear No. 9 with the New Jersey Devils.

Hall wore No. 4 during his six seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, but that number was retired by the Devils to honor Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman Scott Stevens.

"Obviously, the No. 4 was retired here," Hall told the Devils website. "But even if it wasn't retired, I'm not sure that I would have kept the No. 4. In choosing No. 9, I'm looking for a fresh start."

The Devils acquired Hall in a trade with the Oilers for defenseman Adam Larsson on June 29.

Hall, 24, had 26 goals and 65 points in 82 games last season with the Oilers. The No. 1 pick of the 2010 NHL Draft, Hall has scored at least 20 goals four times in six seasons. He has 132 goals and 328 points in 381 games.

Tweet from @NJDSk8Guy: Stitched a Taylor Made jersey for @Hallsy04! Here's the new number he'll debut in Jersey��� pic.twitter.com/GfHnBCt4SG

"There have been a lot of great players that have worn the No. 9 and I want to add to that list," Hall said. "I think in sports you can get too caught up in trying to prove people wrong or that you deserve something and it ends up taking away from the player that you are. I'm not going to change anything in that way. But I am looking forward to a fresh start and an exciting opportunity in New Jersey."

Hall said that when he was 9, his family moved from Calgary to Kingston, Ontario, and he joined a team that was together for several years. He thought about asking for the No. 9 then, but it was taken so he chose No. 4.

"I originally wanted 9 because I just thought it was a cool number," he said. "You always saw a lot of skilled guys wearing it, a lot of guys that score goals and play a little bit fancier. And if you look down the line you'll see so many amazing players who have worn No. 9, including within the Devils organization. It was a number that was kind of flashy. And when you're a young kid playing hockey, that's what you're going for.

"My mom was a huge Bobby Orr fan and I just stuck with [No. 4] through Windsor [Ontario Hockey League] and in Edmonton because it was always available."

The last 30-goal scorer to wear No. 9 for the Devils was Zach Parise, who scored at least 30 five times in seven seasons with NEw Jersey before signing with the Minnesota Wild as a free agent after the 2011-12 season.

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