The Boston Bruins made a splash at the 2021 NHL trade deadline by acquiring top-six forward Taylor Hall and depth forward Curtis Lazar from the Buffalo Sabres, and also veteran defenseman Mike Reilly from the Ottawa Senators.
Hall is the headliner as a former No. 1 overall draft pick and 2017-18 Hart Trophy winner as league MVP.
The 29-year-old left winger likely will make his Bruins debut Tuesday night at TD Garden when Boston hosts the Sabres. It’s the first of six more meetings between these longtime rivals before the end of the regular season.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy revealed Tuesday morning on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich” show that Hall will begin on the second line at left wing alongside center David Krejci and either Craig Smith or Jake DeBrusk at right wing.
Second-line left wing is the most logical place for Hall. It’s also a welcomed addition for Krejci, whose wingers have underwhelmed for a long time. Krejci is still a top-tier playmaker and his 21 assists rank second on the team behind Brad Marchand‘s 29.
Krejci’s most common linemates during 5-on-5 action have been Nick Ritchie and Craig Smith, and that line has accounted for an impressive 56 percent of all shot attempts and 54 percent of all scoring chances at 5-on-5, per Natural Stat Trick. Krejci’s lines generally drive puck possession at a pretty high rate, so Hall should have plenty of opportunities to generate offense alongside the veteran center.
Hall struggled with Buffalo and scored just two goals with 17 assists in 37 games. The Bruins are likely hoping that being surrounded by better players and getting thrown into a playoff race will rejuvenate Hall through the end of the season. He doesn’t need to be elite to help the Bruins, but he has to find the back of the net more consistently.