Though the current campaign hasn't gone as the Buffalo Sabres hoped, the club's marquee off-season acquisition appears open to giving it another try next season.
Heading into 2020-21, the Sabres biggest off-season splash came in the form of winger Taylor Hall, who opted for a one-year, $8-million deal with Buffalo instead of the longer-term UFA deal most expected to see him sign. Though the Sabres now sit in the league's basement with a 6-11-3 record and the fourth-lowest points percentage of any NHL club (.375), Hall said he hasn't ruled out a new deal with his new club.
“Yeah, I’m open to anything,” he said Thursday, via The Buffalo News. “It’s not like I’ve had an amazing statistical year by any means so far this year. Just in saying that, I think I’ve enjoyed my time here. I really like the guys, the coaching staff, the way we’re treated as players and like we said from the start, my agent and myself, we’re open to anything.
"I was never treating this as a one-year thing. I was always coming into it open-minded and we’ll have to see what happens here, if there’s interest on their side. But yeah, of course I have interest.”
Through 20 games in a Sabres uniform, Hall's put up one goal and 12 points, a lower scoring pace than he posted in Arizona, New Jersey or Edmonton. He's had little help, though, as Sabres star Jack Eichel has managed a similar stat line of two goals and 15 points. Sam Reinhart leads the club with eight goals to go along with his own 15 points, while Victor Olofsson is pacing the team with 16 points to his name.
Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger, who originally teamed up with Hall during his Oilers days, spoke highly of the winger's impact in Buffalo so far.
“He’s definitely matured in a good way as a character,” the bench boss said Thursday. “He’s a fabulous addition as a person in our room and he has a calmness to him that he didn’t have as a younger player. He definitely starts – when things aren’t going well – with a finger pointed at himself and not at anybody else. I find that in the conversations very impressive, the way he’s working on it.
"I’m expecting that Taylor will explode here at some point. He has been working hard, he has been creating Grade A chances and mathematics should be on his side here.”