The Edmonton Oilers and Taylor Hall have agreed to a seven-year, $42 million contract extension.
The deal, worth $6 million per season, keeps Hall in blue and orange until he is 27 years old. He was nearing the end of his entry-level contract and would have been able to go into restricted free agency next summer.
Selected first overall two years ago by the Oilers in what was just their first of three consecutive first overall draft picks, Hall made the immediate jump to the NHL with a history-making rookie contract that paid 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 was the most Edmonton had ever paid in an entry-level deal.
His first two seasons of big league hockey have had some notable ups and downs. His first assist and first goal both happened in his first month of NHL play, October 2010. He was part of the rookie crew at the 2011 All-Star Game in Raleigh 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, too–although the fight he engaged in for that ended up finishing his rookie campaign early when he suffered a high ankle sprain.
In his sophomore season, he added another hat trick during a 9-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, and had already improved his rookie production as well, but then he had a freak accident with a skate blade during warmups. The giant gash on his forehead took 30 stitches applied carefully by a plastic surgeon to close and also caused a huge black eye. That wasn’t what stopped his second season short, though, because as soon as the eye swelling went down, he returned to play. He found out he would need major shoulder surgery that would keep him off the ice for five to six months in recovery.
So, both of his first two seasons have been shorter than 82 games due to injuries. However, his rookie season saw him score 22 goals and 20 assists in 65 games, followed by 27 goals and added 26 assists in 61 games for his sophomore season. Keeping an eye on Hall’s health, though, will be imperative in the future. He can’t live up to the full potential of his contract if he’s sitting, injured, in the press box.
This deal is just the latest in a series of long-term, high-paying contracts rewarded to NHL players recently. Speculation is that teams are trying to get deals done under the current collective bargaining agreement, set to expire Sept. 15, because a new CBA could restrict things like contract lengths and salary caps.