NHL Rumors: Contract Talks with Taylor Hall

The Edmonton Oilers are getting back to the table and holding preliminary contract discussions with 2010 first overall draft pick Taylor Hall, who is going into the last year of his three-year entry-level deal.

After Hall was selected first at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, he signed his first professional contract, paying him the entry-level maximum of $900,000 at the NHL level plus a $90,000 signing bonus and up to $2.85 million in potential performance bonuses. This represented the biggest rookie contract in Oilers history.

He had his first assist and first goal in his first month of NHL play, October 2010. He was part of the rookie coalition at the 2011 All-Star Game and scored his first hat trick during his first year. About a month after that first hat trick, he added a Gordie Howe hat trick for good measure–although the fight he engaged in to earn a third of that hat trick ended up finishing his rookie campaign early when he suffered a high ankle sprain.

Still, he’d scored 22 goals and added 20 assists in 65 games.

In his sophomore season, he added another hat trick during a 9-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, and he had already improved his rookie production as well, but then he had a freak accident with a skate blade during warmups. You’ve probably seen the gruesome pictures of the giant gash on his forehead, which took 30 stitches to close and caused a huge black eye. That wasn’t what stopped his second season short, though–he found out he would need major shoulder surgery that would keep him off the ice for five to six months in recovery.

Still, he’d scored 27 goals and added 26 assists in 61 games.

Obviously, the Oilers need to be wary of Hall’s injury problems in deciding on a new contract with him. They may have reason to be concerned that he could be felled by injury once more and hurt the core of the team while being sidelined for months as he heals. Perhaps they should make it part of the contract that he must wear a visor, even during practice, so as to avoid any more skate blade incidents. It’s not much, but it’s something. (He started voluntarily wearing a visor when he returned to the ice following his accident.)

Speaking of the 2011 All-Star Game, though, another rookie participant in that year’s festivities, Jeff Skinner, recently got a huge raise when he agreed to his first non-entry level contract. This could be a point of comparison for the Oilers as they begin to talk money with their 2010 first-rounder.

It may be interesting to note that Hall’s agent is Bobby Orr, the Bruins legend who also wore number 4, was also the recipient of history-making contracts at the start of his career and also struggled with injuries.