Hall Letting Things Play Out in Contract Negotiations

According to a report today in the Asbury Park Press by USA Today – New Jersey writer Abbey Mastracco, Taylor Hall’s contract situation is still ongoing. He has not signed a new contract yet.

Hall, who is scheduled to be a free agent next summer, “confirmed” to the media yesterday “that his agent met with the Devils over the weekend and characterized it as a positive one, he said the two sides aren’t any closer to a deal than they were before the meeting.”

Mastracco said that “Hall disputed reports that said the two sides are ‘making progress’ or closing in on a long-term contract extension.” His agent, Darren Ferris met with Devils’ GM Ray Shero but this was a “preliminary meeting and numbers were not exchanged.”

Despite that, Hall did tell Mastracco that he knew they had the meeting and he knew “it went well.” He said that nothing is “close right now because it hasn’t been discussed.” Mastracco said that Hall “declined to say what was discussed during the meeting between Ferris and Shero and Shero was not available for comment Tuesday.”

Hall also stressed that he was not present at the meeting so anything that he “said would be secondhand.”

Mastracco noted that Hall’s knee injury will play a part in the discussions as both the team and he want to see how he “bounces back … in the early part of the season.” Hall also is waiting to see if “the club is capable of winning now and in the future.” As a result, Mastracco said negotiations will likely take place during the season, which “Hall does not believe … will be a distraction.”

Hall did note that he is “not even a free agent yet” in regards to “unease among the fans.” He mentioned that he is “still a member of this team and we have a huge job to do this winter and that’s really my focus.”

Hall feels “content to take a backseat to negotiations and just play while his agent handles the rest” according to Mastracco.

The 27-year-old 2018 Hart Trophy winner will “just let things take shape and see where they go” while trying to stay on top of his game for the upcoming season.

NHL.com: Hall Does Not Feel He Is Devils’ Top Priority Right Now

According to an article on NHL.com, Taylor Hall does not believe that his contract is the Devils’ most pressing need right now.

“I’m not the priority right now and I don’t really want to be the priority right now” he said to the Athletic Tuesday according to the article on NHL.com. He continued: “They have bigger things to worry about than me” referring to the upcoming first overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. The Devils have ten picks overall in the Draft, which takes place on June 21-22 in Vancouver.

Hall would become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2020, but “can sign an extension of up to eight years with the Devils beginning July 1” of 2019. The 27-year-old signed a “seven-year, $42 million contract” with the Edmonton Oilers on August 22, 2012 before being dealt to the Devils on June 29, 2016 one-for-one for Adam Larsson.

Clearing up some rumors that have made the rounds of late, Hall’s agent, Darren Ferris, “told NHL.com Monday that he and Devils general manager Ray Shero have been in communication.” He said: “I’m in contact with Ray, and he and I communicate regularly, and out of respect to the process, I really can’t provide any details or any conversations that we engage in.” Ferris acknowledged that “(i)t’s a decision the player will have to make in time, and there’s no pressure into making it. It’s just a discussion that is going to be ongoing.”

The NHL.com article quoted Hall as saying, “(w)e never really looked at July 1 as a deadline and Ray hasn’t looked at it like that either. The Devils have never been anything but great with me.”

The rumor I was alluding to up top came from The Fourth Period, who reported on Monday that Hall was “not interested at this time in signing an extension with New Jersey.” Shero had this to say about the rumor/possible click bait via a text message to NHL.com: “No idea where [the website] got that from aside from a ‘source.’ Nothing on our end has changed and I have never heard differently from Taylor or Darren Ferris.”

The article on The Fourth Period kicked off a frenzy of debate and, yes, a bit of worry on Devils social media, message boards and other places where fan congregate to talk and discuss the team.

Of course we will have to wait this out to see how all of this plays out over the summer. The real time to panic is if Hall begins the 2019-20 season without a contract extension in place. Then you are looking at Shero trying to possibly trade him to get maximum value for a player that they cannot come to terms with. But otherwise, we still have some time.

The 2018 Hart Trophy winner “missed the Devils’ last 47 games and had arthroscopic surgery to remove loose fragments in his left knee in February.” However, “Ferris said Hall’s rehabilitation is going well and he remains on target to be ready for training camp in September.”