His Devil’s may have lost in the first round of the playoffs but Taylor Hall has every reason to smile. After years of criticism, injuries, missed opportunities and more criticism, he has finally silenced his doubters.
He was the first in Edmonton’s wave of high draft picks and was hailed as the savior of the franchise years before McDavid arrived on the scene. What started out as optimism turned sour by the end of his time with the Oilers. Hall was a great player but never seemed to live up to the lofty expectations of a first overall pick and failed six straight years to bring the Oilers to the playoffs. He became the scapegoat in the eyes of the fans and media. The man once pegged to lead Edmonton out of the darkness when he was only a teenager was shipped out in a deal for stay at home defenseman, Adam Larsson.
Hall didn’t mince words after the trade saying, “Just the way everything went down, I still hold a bitter resentment towards them.” What was done was done though and he was now a New Jersey Devil. In his first season with NJ, Hall was again solid, but again missed the playoffs.
This year everything changed though. Interestingly enough Hall found himself on a line with 18 year old, Nico Hischier, the Devils new first overall pick. Call it a change of scenery, call it new line mates, call it whatever, something clicked for Taylor Hall. He started scoring like never before this season and didn’t stop. He put together an almost unprecedented 27 game scoring streak and dragged an underdog Devils team kicking and screaming into the playoffs.
Statistically he shattered any season he’s ever had in the past and for the first time in his career he looked flat out dominant. With 93 points he had a whopping 40 more points than second place Devils scorer, Nico Hischier. The gap between his scoring and the rest of his teammates highlight the Herculean effort by Hall to claim a league MVP and playoff spot.
For the first time in his career Taylor Hall is a superstar, he’s on top of the hockey world and his rise doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon. Hall is still only 26 years old and of the top 13 scorers on the Devils, 11 are 26 or younger.
From teen prodigy, to savior of a franchise, to scapegoat to sent packing, and finally to NHL superstar, Taylor Hall has arrived. He looked like Superman this year and I doubt he plans on taking off the cape anytime soon.