One of the more coveted prizes in this off-season was Taylor Hall. The former Hart Trophy winner got calls from contenders like the Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, Colorado Avalanche among others. Hall looked to be going to be winning club, but he stunned many going to the lowly Buffalo Sabres.
His move makes Buffalo better on the ice, but how will that help in fantasy hockey land? Who benefits the most from Hall coming to the Queen City? We’ll look at Hall’s fantasy hockey past and who will reap the rewards of his one-year deal to the Sabres
Taylor Hall and His Fantasy Impact
The Past Year
Hall was traded by the New Jersey Devils to the Arizona Coyotes, who were looking to roll the dice with new ownership. The soon-to-be 29-year-old got Arizona into the first round of the playoffs after dumping the Nashville Predators in the qualifying round. However, Hall’s second playoff appearance of his career short-lived as the Coyotes fell to the Avalanche.
The writing was on the wall that he’d leave the desert, but he did improve the fortunes of Christian Dvorak and Conor Garland. The trio combined for 15 goals in 25 total games together and an expected goals for of 14.4. Garland scored a career-high 22 goals last season and Hall played a hand in some. Dvorak centred the line got a career-high in goals (18) and points (20).
Kyle Palmieri was the main beneficiary of having Hall on his left-wing when they were together in New Jersey. He, Hall and Nico Hischier were clearly the best line on the Devils. However, Palmieri has always been a consistent 20-goal scorer. Hischier really took off last season once Hall was traded and after early-season struggles.
Hall’s Impact on the Sabres
Jack Eichel seems to be the main player to benefit from the Hall signing. Eichel played most of last season with Victor Olofsson and Sam Reinhart. The former second overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft had a career-high in goals with 36. Olofsson and Reinhart each chipped in with 20 and 22 goals, respectively.
Hall’s natural position is left-wing and that means Reinhart will shift down to the second line centred by Eric Staal and with Jeff Skinner on the right side. The move makes Buffalo’s top six actually pretty decent. Hall could also play with the second line if Sabres’ coach Ralph Krueger wants to shuffle his lines.
Playing with Eichel as his main pivot means Hall will be a sought-after commodity in the late first and early second rounds of drafts. Hall will likely end up in similar spots thanks to his finishing ability and points. Hall was on 98 percent of rosters and started 75 percent of the time according to CBS Sports.
Rasmus Dahlin also benefits from the addition of Hall to the Sabres. They’ll likely spend a lot of time together on the power play and that could boost his numbers. Dahlin will likely quarterback the PP1 group with Hall, Eichel, Olofsson and Reinhart.
NHL.com’s Pete Jensen stated that Dahlin is still behind Cale Makar, Quinn Hughes, Miro Heiskanen among younger defencemen, but moves into the top 15 in blueliners. He also becomes a solid option in one-year or redraft leagues.
What it Means for the Future
Hall might be a good bet to get 70 or more points for the Sabres barring injuries. He does have great respect and familiarity with Krueger from their time together with the Edmonton Oilers. The Calgary native has broken 80 points twice and could again if things break right.
He could be a real help on leagues that count power-play stats, as he had 37 in 2017-18. Buffalo’s power play was near the top of the league in 2016-17 with a 24.5 percent conversion rate. Taylor Hall also shoots the puck a lot and that could also make him an attractive player to draft.
All line combination stats courtesy of Moneypuck.