Hall Out to Prove Edmonton Wrong With Devils

Taylor Hall speaks to reporters in a conference call after being traded to Devils by the Oilers in a blockbuster deal.

 

If ever a professional hockey player is suffering mixed emotions at being traded, the newest Devil, Taylor Hall, is it.

On the one hand, he admits to being “slighted” and “disappointed” by Edmonton general manager Peter Chiarelli for being traded to New Jersey.

Yet, on the other hand, he powerfully asserts that he’s more than delighted to become a Devil.

“I’m a very motivated player now (that I’m a Devil) and I’ll do all I can to make a (positive) difference for the Devils,” Hall said in a late afternoon conference call.

When I asked him how it feels to move into the Metropolitan Area with all its excitement and possibilities, he wasted no time expressing his pleasure.

“Coming (to the Met Area) is awesome,” he revealed, “and pretty cool. I’m looking forward to playing in New Jersey. And I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Devils’ organization.”

By contrast, Hall expressed disappointment over the Oilers’ decision to unload him in the deal for defenseman Adam Larsson.

“I’m a proud person and find it hard not to feel slighted,” he admitted. “It’s tough, but I also realize this is a business. The point is that I’m excited to play for a team that wants me and because I have a new opportunity in front of me.”

Taylor also voiced delight at the prospect of teaming with his junior hockey line mate Adam Henrique in addition to — as Hall put it — “playing in the East.”

Asked if he felt he was “peaking” at age 24, the newest Devil shrugged off the thought.

“Actually,” he went on, “I feel that I have a lot of room to improve and that I have a high ceiling.”

When I asked Hall to give a short scouting report on his game, he put it succinctly: “I’m offensive-minded and I like having the puck on my stick. I look forward to being a complete hockey player.”

Devils general manager Ray Shero — in a Wednesday evening conference call — acknowledged that Larsson would be “difficult to replace,” but pointed out that Hall boasted too many assets not to be nabbed.

“Number one,” said Shero, “Hall is a top winger. Number two, he’s at just the right age. Number three he plays the game fast; Number four, he’ll change the dynamics of our team and, finally, this was an opportunity that might not come again.”

Shero insisted that the arrival of Hall automatically will make the likes of Travis Zajac and other New Jersey forwards “play better.”

When I asked Shero which current Devils defenseman could move into Larsson’s spot, he shot back, “For the answer to that you’d better find our coach.”