Ask Taylor Hall to describe his ideal centreman, and he has this to say:
"I've never thought exactly about that, but I guess ideally it's a right-handed guy that can fly and is both a scorer and a playmaker," he said during an appearance on Hockey Central on Tuesday. "And I guess, in a general sense, that might be what Jack Eichel is."
Since news broke of Hall's signing in Buffalo -- an unconventional one-year pact worth $8 million -- the most eligible winger on the free agent market has made no secret of the fact that the opportunity to play alongside Eichel as the Sabres' new top-line winger was a major draw for him.
"Obviously he was a great player before this year, but I thought he took a step into the conversation as one of the top five centres in the game and a player that can really move the needle. He's the captain of the team, he's got a long career ahead of him. For me, getting a chance to play with him was something that I was ready to jump at," Hall said. "Last year, for me, I didn't produce the way that I had in the previous couple years, and getting a chance to play with Jack and really try and help this team move forward is something that I look forward to doing and I'm excited about that."
That excitement also came through during Monday's media availability -- his first as a member of the Sabres -- and an accompanying personal letter penned by Hall and published on NHL.com titled Why I chose Buffalo. In the piece, he wrote about the opportunity to play for Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger as a major draw -- Krueger was an assistant in Edmonton during Hall's first two NHL seasons in 2010 and 2011 and was head coach in 2012-13.
"I have a lot of trust in Ralph," Hall said during Tuesday's Hockey Central. "Everyone talks about him on a personal level, I think he's got he's a great mind for the game. I think he sees the game in a way that offensive players really enjoy playing for. And in saying all that, for me to go there on a one-year contract, I'm hoping that this turns into more but it's the perfect guy to have when you're coming into a situation like I am."
Coming off the seven-year, $42-million deal he signed with the Oilers back in 2012, this was Hall's first foray into unrestricted free agency -- a process he described as "an interesting experience."
"With the landscape the way it was, the free agent market just wasn't the same as it had been in previous years and I had an offer from Buffalo for one year with an opportunity to play with a guy like Jack Eichel, Ralph as the coach," Hall explained. "It seemed like a good opportunity for me, and it seemed like the right fit for me in the short- and the long-term outlook."
Hall said he "fielded some offers and talked to different teams" but didn't divulge any details beyond that.
"I can't really speak to the exact offers that were given, but they weren't in the same price range -- really not close to that. There were teams that we talked to and some teams had to move different guys to make things work," Hall said.
"Really, it came down to we thought this was a really good fit and this is the best thing for me going forward," he continued. "I think there's a lot of opportunity in Buffalo to grow and improve as a team and I feel really positive about it. I woke up yesterday feeling great, and I'm really excited about the opportunity."