In a translated interview with Ola Winther of Hockey Sverige (Sweden), Oilers’ defenseman Oscar Klefbom was quoted talking about Taylor Hall and the impact he made last season: “He (Hall) never played his best games against the tougher teams, which we really needed it. However, he was fantastic when we met the little inferior teams.”
While this quote obviously might have been slightly lost in translation, the overall sentiment of it has been shared many times over recently by fans and media alike surrounding Hall’s exit from Edmonton. As seems to be the building tradition when a star player is traded or leaves in free agency, Hall’s weaknesses have drawn more focus than his strengths, despite his obvious offensive talent. New Jersey won’t be focusing on the weaknesses however, as they’ve created a solid young group of forwards that will be capable of putting up vast amounts of points next season.
For a team who ranked dead last in goals for last season, the Devils will take some defensive lapses to get Hall’s elite scoring ability. For the record, Hall scored 23 points in 28 games (0.82 PPG) against teams who finished in the top-10 of the league last season. He had 42 in the remaining 54 (0.78 PPG).
- In saddening news related to last season’s Dennis Wideman incident, there is now some doubt that NHL linesman Don Henderson will be able to continue his career on the ice. According to Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe, friends close to the situation have told him that Henderson underwent surgery to repair two ruptured disks in his neck, and is unsure whether he’ll officiate another NHL game. The friend is quoted as saying “He attacked him from behind, the puck was nowhere near the two of them, and now Henderson’s career may be finished. I don’t see much difference between what he did and Wayne Maki cracking his stick over Teddy Green’s head.’’ Wideman is still involved in a dispute over the suspension that was shortened by an arbitrator last season.
- Many teams hoped that Jamie Benn was headed for free agency after next season, but after the Dallas Stars’ captain re-signed for another eight years, he’s sure to be in green for a while. Benn told Mike Heika of The Dallas News that he “didn’t have even one thought of leaving this place. I fell in love with Dallas, Texas ever since I got down here.” Benn ranked second in scoring last season, and has three straight 30-goal seasons. He’s under contract now through 2024-25, and should go down as one of the best Stars of all-time, should he continue his current path.