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The Boston Bruins pulled off the heist of the trade deadline when they acquired Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Anders Bjork and a 2021 second-round pick.
It is already paying dividends for the Bruins as Hall helped lead the team to a first-round victory over the Washington Capitals and the former Hart Trophy winner said he wants to remain with the club in a profile with ESPN's Emily Kaplan.
"I do want to play here, not just for one or two more years, hopefully longer than that," Hall said to Kaplan. "I don't even know what my worth is right now, honestly. I'm not worried about my contract right now, it's something we'll figure out in the summer. I have much bigger things to worry about as a player, as a teammate.
"I knew it was a great city, but I've been surprised at how much better it's been than I even thought it was. So hopefully it all works out."
Hall's tenure with the Sabres simply didn't work out and his underwhelming performance was one of the first half's biggest storylines, but the Bruins made a smart, calculated bet that he was due for positive shooting regression, posting a ghastly 2.3 percentage with the Sabres. Anchoring the second line with Craig Smith and David Krejci, Hall registered two goals and three points in Boston's first-round win.
Although the Bruins, a perennial Stanley Cup contender seemed like an ideal fit for a player of his calibre, Hall insists he wasn't specifically angling for a move to his new team.
"Leading up to the deadline, there were a couple teams that were interested, I'm not going to say who they were, but if it would have worked out, I would have gone there," Hall said. "I wasn't just holding out for Boston. I was eager to join a playoff team. I was eager to join somewhere that had good culture, and where winning was sustainable.
The 29-year-old spoke candidly about his ill-fated stint with the Sabres but cast no blame upon his former team for his relative lack of success.
"Buffalo wasn't a successful time for me at all. I don't have anyone else to blame — for my play or my statistics or how it went — but myself. I feel bad that Ralph Krueger had to take the brunt of the blame.
"The thing I probably learned the most is you have to enjoy playing hockey and I needed to go somewhere I could enjoy playing hockey and really feel that love for the game. Not that I didn't have it in Buffalo, but we had some dark times there. We lost a lot of games in a row. That was challenging for everyone."
Hall is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and though he'd usually be atop most boards, all indications seem to point to him re-signing with the Bruins, once again forcing all of us to revisit the question: how did Boston get away with this?
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