NHL rumors: Free agent Taylor Hall, Bruins 'moving' toward reunion

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Bruins fans will like latest report on Taylor Hall's free agency originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The least surprising signing of 2021 NHL free agency would be Taylor Hall returning to the Boston Bruins, and the latest report on this situation suggests a reunion is a very real possibility.

Longtime NHL/Blues reporter Andy Strickland tweeted Thursday morning an interesting update on Hall and the Bruins:

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Hall has said on numerous occasions that he wants to remain in Boston, including his season-ending Zoom call with reporters. "I see a fit, and hopefully they feel the same," Hall said on June 11. The Bruins have also made it publicly known they have mutual interest in bringing back Hall.

When will the Bruins actually sign Hall?

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It wouldn't make much sense to do it before next Wednesday's NHL Expansion Draft for the new Seattle Kraken franchise. If the B's signed Hall before that draft, they'd have to protect him, and thus risk losing another player. Right now, Hall doesn't need protection because he's an unrestricted free agent.

From an on-ice standpoint, there are plenty of reasons why the Bruins should re-sign Hall. For starters, he was an excellent fit on the second line next to center David Krejci and right winger Craig Smith. This line dominated during 5-on-5 action in the regular season, helping the B's account for 65 percent of all shot attempts and shots on net, as well as outscoring opponents 13-1. 

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Hall tallied 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in 16 regular season games with the Bruins. He played well in the team's first-round playoff series win over the Washington Capitals but struggled to score in the second-round exit versus the New York Islanders.

Another huge reason to sign Hall is the Bruins don't have a suitable backup plan at his position. Outside of first-line stars Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, the B's don't have any other wingers with top-tier goal scoring ability. That's one of reasons why Hall was acquired in the first place. If he doesn't re-sign, the Bruins would have a massive hole at second-line left wing.