Taylor Hall is one of the top five players in the 2021 NHL free agent class, and it sure sounds like he's generating plenty of interest around the league.
Hall was traded from the Buffalo Sabres to the Boston Bruins shortly before the April 12 trade deadline.
The move revitalized Hall's career, as he posted 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in 16 games to close the regular season. He played well in the first round of the playoffs against the Washington Capitals but struggled to make an impact offensively versus the New York Islanders in a second-round loss.
The Bruins absolutely should do everything possible to re-sign him, but as Darren Dreger noted on the latest edition of TSN's "Insider Trading" this week, the B's aren't the only team interested in the former Hart Trophy winner.
"(Bruins general manager Don Sweeney) is engaged in discussions on an extension with Taylor Hall with the agent Darren Ferris. This shouldn't come as breaking news," Dreger explained. "There was interest from Boston's standpoint prior to making the trade with the Sabres.
"But there's outside interest as well, including the Toronto Maple Leafs, which may surprise some. Toronto has interest, I’m sure, if they can’t get Zach Hyman signed, or depending on what happens with Freddy Andersen. There's a lot of teams with interest in Taylor Hall, but he'd like to extend his time in Boston."
Hall has made it clear on a few occasions that he wants to remain in Boston. He said that right after the trade before playing a single game for the Bruins, and he reiterated that stance after Boston's playoff exit.
The Bruins also have publicly made it known they want to bring Hall back. B's president Cam Neely said "we'd like to get something done" when asked before the playoffs about re-signing Hall this offseason.
So, you'd have to imagine both the Bruins and Hall work hard to find common ground. The best-case scenario for the Bruins would be a two- or three-year contract, but if they have to give up more term to entice Hall to take less AAV (annual average value), that wouldn't be a bad situation, either.
Re-signing Hall after the Seattle Kraken expansion draft on July 21 makes the most sense for the Bruins. If he's not signed, he doesn't need to take up one of Boston's spots on its protected list for the expansion draft.
What about the Leads? They do make sense, at least on paper, as a possible landing spot for Hall if he doesn't return to the Bruins. Hall's physical, power-forward style of play would be great for Toronto. The Leafs also will need scoring depth at left wing if Zach Hyman doesn't return to Toronto. He's an unrestricted free agent this summer like Hall.