Taylor Hall appeared on Sportsnet 590’s Starting Lineup on Thursday in Toronto, and he had some candid words on what it was like watching his former team go on a playoff run this spring.
“I wouldn’t say I wanted them to lose, but it was nice to finally see them maybe get eliminated,” Hall said when asked about whether or not he was cheering for the Oilers to lose Game 7 against the Anaheim Ducks.
“It’s a tough thing to describe to people. I think there’s been enough time that’s passed since the trade has happened that you finally just kind of… it is what it is now. And I’m a Devil, and I’m excited to see what we can do next season.”
This comes a couple of months after Hall said he wouldn’t be rooting for the Oilers in the playoffs.
“It’s a weird dynamic,” Hall said in an interview with Luke Fox of Sportsnet. “You’re happy for your friends, that they’re doing well and they’re going to experience the playoffs, but you can’t help but be a bit jealous.
Hall, as we all know, was dealt to New Jersey in a controversial deal for rugged and reliable defenceman Adam Larsson last summer. The rest is history, really. The Oilers enjoyed a breakout season in which Connor McDavid grabbed control of the team and led them into the playoffs with an incredible 100-point performance. Hall had a strong season on the Devils, tying the team’s lead in scoring despite missing time with injury, but missed the playoffs yet again.
And you can tell it’s taking a toll on him.
“I’d love to be in a playoff race. I don’t even think I’ve played meaningful games in the last 10 games of the season at any point in my career. To say that is tough, for sure,” Hall went on to say in that interview with Luke Fox. “But what am I going to do? I still have to produce. I still have to play well. One thing I learned last year down the stretch, even when we were in 27th, 26th place, a lot of people are watching. There’s still a lot of eyes on you. Even though our team isn’t going to make the playoffs, there’s still room for individual and team success.”
I wouldn’t take Hall’s comments as a jab towards the city, team, or fans. He was always proud to play for the Oilers and badly wanted to bring this team up to a higher level. During those dark days between 2010-2015, Hall was one player who you could always count on for a good effort and strong play. When he was drafted first overall in 2010, Hall was deemed the saviour of a franchise that had been in flux for the better part of the last two decades. But it didn’t happen, and he ultimately ended up being used as a trade chip to fill a hole elsewhere in the lineup.
Whether you like Hall or not, or think Edmonton came out on the winning end of the swap, you can certainly empathize with how difficult it must be for Hall to watch the Oilers, who were once his team, find success without him. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled when he stops being asked this question.