NEWARK, N.J. — The New Jersey Devils would like to remind everyone that Taylor Hall is still, in fact, a New Jersey Devil. Despite the fact that he has not yet signed a contract extension that would keep him in New Jersey for the next seven or eight years, the 2018 Hart Trophy winner hasn’t exactly shown any inclination to leave for a contending team.
With the additions the Devils made in the offseason, the club is hoping to contend again soon, maybe even next season. Many fans have perceived Hall’s silence as a slight and seem convinced he’s going elsewhere. But coach John Hynes insists that’s not the case.
“All things are good with him. He’s excited,” Hynes said Wednesday at Prudential Center, after taking in a 3-on-3 prospect tournament on the second day of development camp. “He’s excited about the additions to our team and it’s nice to see him in a good frame of mind and he’s moving along and training the right way.”
The winger is on the ice in his offseason home of Toronto after completing the rehab program from his knee surgery. His agent, Darren Ferris, has talked to general manager Ray Shero but it was not a formal conversation about a contract extension. Hall, as noted many times, is taking his time to make a decision as to whether or not he will stay in New Jersey long term.
There’s always a chance he needs more time to make a decision than the offseason will allow and negotiations will continue into training camp or even into the 2019-2020 season. While the Devils certainly don’t want a John Tavares situation on their hands, they don’t feel as though there is any pressure to extend him now.
Hynes is confident Hall wants to remain a Devil.
“Taylor is invested here,” Hynes said. “The situation with a contract thing is a contract thing. But when you look at the player-coach relationship, he wants to play. The way I look at it as a coach is he’s all in. If he’s going to be on this team this year then he’s all in to play. If it winds up where his contract isn’t done, it’s not going to affect who is and what he believes in as a person.”
Hall likes playing for Hynes and he has been vocal about his trust in Shero. Shero likes to point out that Hall was an MVP under Hynes and he wasn’t under Dallas Eakins or Todd McLellan in Edmonton.
But we all know Hall wants to win and there is little worry that the team won’t be able to do that if his contract status hangs over the heads of all of his teammates next season.
“We had a discussion with our players about him and how he’s handled this whole situation,” Hynes said. “We stay in regular contact with him and this is part of the business. I think with the connections he’s made here and the relationships he has and how both parties are handling it, this is part of what it is and when it’s time to play and practice and be a part of the team I foresee no issues with that.”
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