Taylor Hall saw only positives in signing with Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Taylor Hall refused to accept the negativity surrounding the Buffalo Sabers and instead focused on the positives.
The opportunity to stand next to Captain Jack Eichel was a factor. Play another for a well-known coach in Ralph Krueger. Add that Buffalo is close to his home in Toronto, and the Sabers willing to sign Hall for a year to keep his options open for the next year were enough to overdo him.
"If you look under the hood at some smoke and something that has happened to the Sabers over the past few years, there are some really good pieces," Hall said during a video call on Monday, the day after an $ 8 million Dollar contract.
"Hockey is an interesting thing. Three years ago nobody would have thought Colorado would be the number 1 target," he added, referring to a Nathan MacKinnon-led Avalanche team that played off after just one from 2011-17 three - Games in a row denied. "Things can go pretty quickly, especially when you have elite parts like the Sabers."
The 10-year veteran and 2018 NHL MVP was the top striker available when the NHL's free agency period opened on Friday. And although Taylor confirmed that he had received long-term offers from numerous teams, he opted for a one-year contract with Buffalo.
"I don't want to call it a 'Prove it' deal. It's a bit like a 'Show me' deal," Hall said. "Of course I bet on myself, but I bet the Sabers can improve and have a good hockey season. If it wasn't for me, I wouldn't be here."
Hall was selected by Edmonton as # 1 on the 2010 draft and is on his third team in two years after the New Jersey Devils brought him to Arizona in December.
He joins a Sabers franchise amid a nine-year playoff drought that is considered the longest active streak in the NHL and is on the verge of breaking the league record.
The lack of success in Buffalo is attributed to the impatient owners of Terry and Kim Pegula, a terrible drawing record and a revolving door of coaches and business leaders.
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Krueger, who is starting his second season, is Buffalo's sixth coach since the 2012/13 season. And the Sabers front office was reshuffled in June when Kevyn Adams took over after Jason Botterill was abruptly fired after just three seasons.
Despite his success on the ice, the six-time season has been 20 goals in teams that have only made the playoffs twice, including the Coyotes that year.
Hall couldn't exaggerate how important Krueger's presence was in making his decision. Krueger was an assistant coach at Edmonton during Hall's rookie season and eventually became the Oilers coach in 2012-13.
"That year I headed him was probably my most successful year ... aside from my MVP year," said Hall, who had his first of three point-per-game seasons under Krueger with 16 goals and 50 Points scored 45 games.
And Hall could see the immediate impact Krueger had on Eichel, who scored the best 36 goals of his career last season.
"I don't think it's a coincidence that Ralph got a lot out of him," he said.
Hall said the turning point in his decision came on Sunday when he and Krueger had a long chat over FaceTime.
“He told me about Buffalo. I could only see in his face that he really wanted me there, ”he said. "It feels good to be wanted like that."
Hall couldn't say the same about the Coyotes, where he was put off by internal turmoil that resulted in GM John Chayka stepping down a week before the playoffs began. After being open to re-signing with Arizona, Hall said he decided to test the free agency after failing to hold talks with Chayka's successor, Bill Armstrong, who was hired in mid-September.
Hall is now focused on playing for the Sabers for a year, and hopefully longer.
"Honestly, the best thing for both sides is that this goes really well and that I've been a saber for a long time," he said.
A year ago, Hall had expected to sign a long-term contract with the free agency before the NHL economy was shaken by the coronavirus pandemic. He said the flat salary cap, which is $ 81.5 million from last year, has changed the market to limit the number of teams.
"You have to adjust and I think that was the best piece for me," said Hall. "I'm playing hockey next year and my salary is $ 8 million. I don't have much to complain about."
Taylor Hall only saw positive results signing with Sabers, which originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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