New Jersey Devils: It’s Time To Appreciate Taylor Hall For What He Was

Taylor Hall #9 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Taylor Hall #9 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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We talk about Taylor Hall too much. I do it, other writers on my staff do it, our fans do it, and the New Jersey Devils in general just talk about a player who’s been on three teams since us way too much. However, it’s been less than two years since the present and future were supposed to go through Taylor Hall. This team kept John Hynes because of what he got out of Taylor Hall. They got P.K. Subban to show Hall that they could be contenders. There are so many decisions that still impact this team that ties back to Hall.

So, after seeing him comment on his time to the Devils to Emily Kaplan of ESPN, it gave us the ability to look back at his time in New Jersey with a different mindset.

We really shouldn’t hate Taylor Hall. He literally lit a fire behind him during that last season with the team. He was going through the motions as soon as the team lost the first seven games of the season. After the crowd booed the Devils power play, Hall made that gesture to his ear to his home fans. This was after it was clear he was getting traded, as Ray Shero was going to get as many assets as possible for his best player.

The Devils didn’t get what fans hoped for Hall. There were rumors that Spencer Knight and Bowen Byram were possibly available for Hall, but the Devils’ best prospect they got was Kevin Bahl. No offense to Bahl, but the other two are already on their way to being stars. The Devils also got the pick that turned into Dawson Mercer, who’s quickly becoming one of the Devils’ best prospects.

The end was just so bad. Hall wasn’t contributing, the Devils weren’t winning, the attitude was a little clear, and everything was burning. Shero eventually fired Hynes in the middle of the season, which made it even more clear that Hall was out the door. This was like any relationship. It ended badly, but we had three good years together before that. It seems like based on Hall’s comments to ESPN, he looks back on his time with New Jersey positively.

"“The most growth I had was my time in New Jersey. I compare it to a college kid graduating, then he gets his first apartment, his first job, and really grows as a person,” Hall to Emily Kaplan of ESPN."

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Hall went on to say his growth as a player had a lot to do with Hynes, and he’ll always cherish his time with New Jersey and the best moment of his career is winning the Hart Trophy in 2018. At least, it sounds like the best moment of his career until he wins a Cup.

We can keep making fun of him for saying he wanted to stay in New Jersey when it seemed like that wasn’t happening. Who could blame him? Look at this team right now. Where is it with Hall on the roster? What happens if we did sign Hall to an eight-year deal? Is it a playoff team? Absolutely not. In fact, it might be even worse since the Devils would push to keep some of the veterans and might even sign a bad free agent to keep the window open with Hall in the lineup.

For three years, we watched Hall go from a player who didn’t live up to his draft status to an NHL star. His MVP season is one of the best season any forward had with the Devils crest on their jersey. It will go down in Devils history. Nobody is asking the Devils to retire the number nine for Hall, but we should all look back at his time here and smile. The playoff success wasn’t there, but this was a player who bought all the way into the team until it was clear it wasn’t working. He gave New Jersey a shot like many players probably wouldn’t. Don’t be sad because it’s over, be happy because it happened. Hall clearly is.