Plenty of buzz was generated when the Devils acquired Taylor Hall from the Edmonton Oilers last week in exchange for defenseman Adam Larsson.
But what can the Devils expect when Hall hits the ice in the fall?
NJ Advance Media spoke with Edmonton Oilers beat reporter Rob Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun/Journal, and in this Q&A, he explains what the experience will be like with Hall in Newark.
Q: What is Taylor Hall like to watch and what does he bring to the table to any team when he's on the ice?
He's just really exciting. He's one of those guys you watch of all the guys on the ice, because A) he's got this blazing speed, and B) he does go hard every shift and tries to make something happen. He's a fun player to watch. There aren't a whole bunch of them in the league. When you're in the rink, he's somebody that you want to watch because there's a chance he's going to do something special and entertaining.
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Q: How has he developed and transformed into a player who can produce on both ends and be a two-way player?
The thing with Taylor is that he'll often try to do too much, especially late in the game or in the third period if they're down by a goal or two. He'll try to be the one-on-two rush or if the philosophy is dump and chase, he'll still try to make a move at the blue line, and that returns in the odd turnover, but that happens with a lot of high-end players.
When (Todd) McLellan came in as coach, they really made a concerted effort to try and, not take away his creativity and ability to be a great player, but just to play more within the structure and the system. And he has been a lot better at that. He is a guy that is willing to learn. he want to be better, and he still has that confidence, he'll try and make that move at the blue line, and sometimes it's frustrating and it goes the other way and you're fishing it out of your net. He produces more than he gives up, certainly.
Q: Taylor was seen as a fan favorite at Edmonton, why was he like that among the fans?
He was their best player for a few years, and he went hard on every shift. That's the thing, it was a bad team, and even when nothing else was going right, he was the guy that was skating hard and driving to the net, and still trying to make something happen. The fans love him because of his work ethic, and he also wore his heart on his sleeve. In interviews, he's the guy who's usually pretty honest about the state of the team and the state of the game, and he'll give you a good analysis. Those things combined made him pretty popular.
Q: He wasn't shy about feeling like the odd mad out and feeling slighted after being traded away. How do you think that will motivate him once he takes the ice with New Jersey?
I think a lot. That's a shock to the system for any player, but he thought he was a cornerstone, everybody thought he was the cornerstone, of this rebuild, and if anything, if you were going to keep any two guys, it would be he and (Connor) McDavid. And he did love it here, so it hurt a little but and he's a proud guy, so I'm certainly sure he'll want to step his game up even more in New Jersey and the Eastern Conference, because he definitely wants to prove the Oilers made a mistake.
Chris Ryan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRyan_NJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.
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