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Why Taylor Hall is a Great Fit in Buffalo

Taylor Hall agreed to a one-year $8 million contract with the Buffalo Sabres on October 11th. According to CapFriendly, the deal has a full no-movement clause, which is not often seen in one-year deals.

This is a great signing for the Sabres and a smart deal for Hall. The team has been looking to take the next step out of their rebuild and into the playoffs for the past couple of seasons. In each of those seasons, Buffalo got off to a hot start, and sprinted out to a division lead. However, the magic didn’t last as the Sabres failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each season.

Signing a player like Hall is a big step for a team that has struggled for as long as Buffalo has. This shows the fan base, which is one of the best in the league, that the team is truly trying to win and not planning to extend the rebuild further.

Hall, on paper, will fit in nicely with the Sabres, as he is projected to play on a line with an elite center in Jack Eichel. Hall has a unique ability to drive offense from the wing, but pairing him with Eichel should open up more time and space for each to work. Neither Hall nor Eichel has played with a player of comparable talent, and both have had great individual seasons in their careers. Hall was in Edmonton with Connor McDavid, but only for McDavid's injury-shortened rookie season, which is the lone exception. I think that pairing Hall and Eichel together will result in career seasons for both. I would expect both to average at least a point per game, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the two combined for close to 200 points (if there is an 82-game season). If there is a shortened season, I think they will produce at a similar pace.

Taking a one-year deal was, in my opinion, smart on Hall’s part, especially because he was able to get a no-movement clause in the deal. He now has full control over where he finishes the season, despite being on an expiring contract for the second year in a row. If he likes playing in Buffalo, he will be able to stay, regardless of the team’s record. Obviously, the team won’t be looking to trade him if they are winning and headed toward the playoffs. But, if they are struggling, Hall will have the option to stay with the Sabres, or choose which team he goes to in a trade. The Sabres can’t trade Hall without his approval, so he will have his choice.

In an ideal world, for both the team and the player, Hall will excel in Buffalo and help lead the team to the playoffs before electing to sign an extension with the organization after the season. I think there is a decent chance this happens, in which case the one-year deal would have been proven a success for all parties involved.

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