BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Taylor Hall has found himself on not one, but two new teams since winning the Hart Memorial Trophy less than three years ago. Surely, Sabres fans aren't complaining. Hall's arrival was one of the biggest surprises of NHL free agency.
To find another Hart Trophy winner who's no longer with the team that he won the NHL's MVP award with, you have to go back to 2011 and Corey Perry's campaign with the Anaheim Ducks. So what exactly went wrong in New Jersey after Hall won the award in 2018?
"My last two seasons weren't the way I wanted to be," Hall said. "I had a great start to 2018-19, and then I got hurt."
He was still putting up more than a point per game before being placed on injured reserve in January 2019. Knee surgery put an end to his campaign, and the Devils were among the worst teams in the East without him.
In December 2019, Hall was shipped off to Arizona. At the time of the trade, he had scored six goals and added 19 assists in 30 games played.
"Last year was... just kind of coming back from an injury," Hall said. "So it was a little bit of a tumultuous ending."
Hall never got to play against the Devils after being traded to the Coyotes; his first chance will come on Saturday at KeyBank Center. But the former first overall pick doesn't really recognize his former team.
"Unfortunately a lot of the guys that I played with over the years aren't there anymore," Hall said. "They've had a lot of turnover on that team and there's a bright future ahead of them there."
His best year in New Jersey immortalized him. And even though the ending was rocky and Hall was coming off a season-ending injury, he sees only the good times when he looks back on his time with the Devils.
"A lot of people helped me reach another step in my career. Winning MVP in 2018 was probably the pinnacle of my career so far," Hall said. "I have nothing but great things to say about the area and the team."
Hall has a goal and six assists with the Sabres so far in 2021. Buffalo hosts the New Jersey Devils at 1:00 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.