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Hall expected to do more in second season with Devils

Left wing has to step up play for New Jersey to end five-year playoff drought

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Left wing Taylor Hall knows he has to do more in his second season with the New Jersey Devils.

"I expect more and he knows that," general manager Ray Shero said during the first day of training camp Thursday. "We met at the end of the year for a long time and wanted him to understand what it is to become the best player he can be.

"I think he's been fantastic this summer and he's capable of more, but it starts with a lot of different things than what's happening on the ice in terms of training."

Hall, who was acquired in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers for defenseman Adam Larsson on June 29, 2016, tied for the Devils lead with 53 points (20 goals, 33 assists) in 72 games last season and was tied for second in goals. He's one of many veterans being counted on to help the Devils end their five-season Stanley Cup Playoff drought.

Hall, the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, was no doubt very surprised when the trade occurred. At the time, he was regarded as a cornerstone of the Oilers' rebuild, the first of four No. 1 picks in a six-year span by Edmonton, followed by forwards Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011), Nail Yakupov (2012) and Connor McDavid (2015).

"He's gotten over the one-year grieving period; I guess that's what they call it," Shero said. "He's excited. I realize last season was a real tough thing, and we didn't have success [as a team], but he wants to bring success here so that's a good thing."

Video: PIT@NJD: Hall roofs wicked shot for power-play goal

Hall, 25, has played 453 regular-season NHL games but has never been to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and said he's tired of his seasons ending in early April. The Devils had 70 points last season (28-40-14), fewest in the Eastern Conference.

Hall said he has even higher expectations of himself in his second season with the Devils. New Jersey will need more from him, especially after top-line center Travis Zajac (pectoral) was injured during the summer and is expected to miss the first four months of the season.

"I hope to improve on my season from a year ago," Hall said. "It wasn't a bad season by any means, but I definitely think that just coming in and being more comfortable with the situation and knowing what to expect in the area and the team and coaching staff, will be good.

"I've always been a player who gets better when I'm more comfortable, so personally I expect a lot from myself and our team."

Coach John Hynes said Hall can take on more of a leadership role this season.

"I think Taylor will continue to round out his game," Hynes said. "I think the things you really respect about him are his speed, and his compete; he's such a chance generator. I think Taylor is a guy we expect to be a leader in the way we want to play and in playing both sides of the puck equally hard. I think he's a guy we feel within our group and room that if he can lead in the way he plays, he's going to really help our team take the next step."

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