Hall Named 41st Best Player by NHL Network

As we continue to inch closer and closer to the NHL’s preseason, here is a bit of cool news for Devils fans everywhere to chew on. Taylor Hall was named the 41st best player (on a list of 50) in the NHL right now by the NHL Network.

He had previously been named to the list of the Network’s Top 20 Wings, placing 15th on that list.

Hall, who missed the majority of last season with injury, had career highs with 39 goals, 54 assists and 93 points and a plus-14 rating in his 2017-18 Hart Trophy-winning season.

Even with a bum left knee that finished his season prematurely last year, the left winger averaged a point per game with 37 points – 11 goals and 26 assists in the 33 games he did participate in according to the NHL’s website.

As with the list of top wingers, the key to Hall placing higher next season is health. Former Devil-turned broadcaster Mike Rupp said the “biggest thing is him being healthy. [With] him healthy, he’s going to dominate, he’s a huge piece. I think this is very fair to have him on the list where he’s at. He didn’t really play this year, he was injured. That’s still a very accurate thing, he’s still a heck of a player, and in a full season, I’m expecting him to be much higher on this list next year.” The quote came from the show but was transcribed on NHL.com.

For Hall to remain on these lists when he was injured for most of last year says not only a lot about him as a hockey player, but also his reputation. Rupp mentioned on the show that there were some questions when he was with Edmonton about his makeup, but he has shown since being in New Jersey that he is an elite player. That is evidenced by the Hart Trophy won in 2018, but also the job he did almost singlehandedly getting the Devils into the playoffs that season.

Hopefully he can stay healthy this year and get the Devils back to where they, and he, want to be: the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But in all of this talk about him having a bounce back year, you have to wonder how the contract situation will fit into everything. Every time the Devils go into a big market – especially in Canada – there will be tons of reporters on hand to ask him what his status is. This could become a distraction very quickly for the team and for Hall.

Whether he re-signs or not will remain to be seen, as will injuries. What he can control is how he plays when he is in the lineup and there, Hall has shown that he is nothing but professional and prepared. He should be ready to go this season to get to his ultimate goal of getting the Devils back into the playoffs and, should he remain here, help build them into Stanley Cup contenders.

Devils to Air Special Draft Preview on Official Site

One of the perks for the tri-state area teams of the NHL Network airing out of Secaucus, New Jersey is about to be on display this coming Monday at noon.

NewJerseyDevils.com will be airing a special Draft preview show from the NHL Network studios. The show will air at 12 noon EST on YouTube, Facebook Premiere, IGTV and Twitter (“via the club’s official social media accounts” as per the article put out by the Devils). The press release also said that the show will be available on the Devils’ official website at noon as well.

The four-part show will be hosted by NewJerseyDevils.com’s Chris Wescott and Amanda Stein and will also feature former Devils goalie and current NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes. The three will talk about the Draft as it specifically relates to the Devils, as this is a Devils-exclusive show.

According to the press release the team put out, the hosts will discuss Kaapo Kakko, Jack Hughes and the Devils’ nine other selections in the 2019 Draft. There will be interviews with “draft analysts, as well as Devils Executive Vice President, General Manager/Alternate Governor Ray Shero.”

The press release also promises “behind-the-scenes content from the Draft Lottery, Scouting Meetings, and the Combine” during the breaks.

One interesting note is that the press release mentions “a special announcement teasing an exciting piece of coverage coming soon” at the end of the show.

This last part intrigues me. As much as I love the special Devils-specific Draft coverage that we are getting, you can only rehash what has been said so many times. What could the new content be? Could it possibly be something on the Devils’ site similar to what MSG does for the Rangers, a weekly coach’s show like the former AV Squad? Could it be something giving us more access to the players and management? Or could it be something altogether different? The Devils have been great at creating content for the fans where traditional media has failed us. We will definitely find out what this is on Monday when the special airs.

That part aside, I am certainly looking forward to this. Getting more and more insight into just who the Devils may pick and how it will benefit the team overall is always great. This special should not disappoint.