Speaking with Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic (subscription required), pending free agent Taylor Hall says he’s looking to sign a long-term deal this offseason, even if it means sacrificing money to do so.
Most free agents due for contract extensions this summer understand that this offseason could look different from year’s past. With uncertainty surrounding the salary cap, it may be one of the worst times to become a free agent in a market that won’t have much money to spend. Some — like St. Louis Blues’ defenseman Alex Pietrangelo — will explore all their options. This could mean shorter-team deals to ride out the rough years, moving to another team, or signing the long-term contract if one is out there.
It’s the last option that winger Taylor Hall will look for.
LeBrun noted that he asked Hall what he wants to do and if he’d consider a short-term deal now just to put himself in a better position later. As the NHL rebounds financially from the COVID-19 crisis pause, teams will have more funds and in a year or two and Hall will still be a coveted acquisition.
Hall isn’t so sure. It’s not to say that Hall won’t be productive or that he doesn’t have faith in himself. Instead, Hall is a realist. One can never know for sure what other things may bring an NHL career to a halt. Hall said without hesitation, he said he’d rather go for long-term security now.
And, it’s not just about making the most money possible. It sounds as though Hall has stayed as grounded and realistic to the business of hockey during these times. He knows he’s lucky to have an opportunity to do what he loves and make good money, no matter when he signs his next deal.
For 31 NHL teams, that could create opportunity. A team willing to bet long-term on Hall might not have to pay as much. And, if he’s looking for a team he can call home for many years, he’s looking for comfort and the right situation.
Where exactly is that?