Devils left winger, Taylor Hall sat down with Sportsnet’s Gene Principe ahead of Thursday night’s game between New Jersey and Hall’s former team, the Edmonton Oilers to discuss his time in Edmonton, his thoughts on the trade, and his time in New Jersey.
What’s it like being back in Edmonton?
It’s different, it’s a weird feeling to be back, not in an existence where I’m playing. I didn’t really come back here in the summer, and didn’t really feel like coming back here after I got traded, so, this is the first time I’m back and it’s a different feeling.
It’s nice to not have to come back directly to Rexall Place where I had played for six years, this building (Rogers Place) is brand new and it’s not somewhere where I feel totally like home.
So, in saying that, it’s a beautiful place and I’m excited to be here and I just wish we could play the game tonight, I just want to get it over with and get out there and play in front of people that I played with in front of a long time.
On the shock of being traded from Edmonton:
Yeah, I mean, I just really didn’t want to be traded. I wanted to be a part of the solution here and I wanted to be a part of playing in this new arena and I felt like an Oiler. I played there for a long time and you can’t help but get attached to an organization when you’re a part of that for six years.
In saying that, you know, I’ve moved on now, and I’m happy where I’m at, and I have a lot of fun playing with my teammates in Jersey in front of those fans as well. I’m attached to that organization as well now, and it’s always tough coming back here and like I said, I’m excited and it’s just going to be a fun night.
What do you think the fan’s reaction might be Thursday night?
I think it will be positive. You know, playing here for six years and seeing how they were receptive to other players coming back, they were always giving good applauses and they were always fair to the guys that played here.
I think that I played hard here for a long time and I gave it my all, and it wasn’t always the best result, but I felt like I was a good soldier and I love playing in front of these fans and so hopefully it’s going to be a fun night.
What was the best part of being an Oiler? And what was the most the most difficult part of your time in Edmonton?
The best part was, and you know, maybe some guys would call it the worst part, but I really enjoyed playing in kind of a fish bowl atmosphere, an atmosphere where they really cared. It wasn’t easy all the time, but, at the end of the day I can look back at my time here and say that I enjoyed the pressure and I enjoyed playing in an atmosphere where they just really care about hockey.
The worst part was the losing and the fact that we weren’t able to have success here, that’s all I really wanted to do and that’s my main goal in Jersey. That’s just really what I want to become as a hockey player is a winner and that’s probably the reason that I was so upset with the trade because I thought that we were going to get there sooner or later in Edmonton and like I said, that’s my goal in Jersey.
From a hockey standpoint, did you ever actually analyze the trade of Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson?
We’re such different players, and I think in this day and age in the NHL, you don’t often see trades for similar players. Teams are always looking to upgrade on what they need and similar trade would be (Ryan) Johansen for Seth Jones. They’re two different players and both organizations needed that skill set that they got in return. I’ve heard nothing but good things from my teammates here in Jersey about Adam. It’s weird when you get into a battle on the ice or you have to go up against a guy you’ve been traded for so it’s different that way but, you don’t wish any ill upon the guy at all, it’s just the way it goes.
Are you happy as a Devil, having moved past what happened in Edmonton and now moving forward in New Jersey?
I’ve always been happy, it was never about that. Your circumstances, you know I think, sometimes you have to make the best of what you have and while I was disappointed to get traded, it’s been a lot of fun to be in that area, to join a new team, it’s kind of a rebirth of a career almost even though I’m pretty young.
It’s been a lot of fun just to kind of see what kind of person I can be in a different setting and I think it’s allowed me to grow a lot, so, I’m looking forward to that. Playing back here and all this, this is some of the special experiences that you would never have in your life if you weren’t traded, so, I’m trying to take the best of it and put a smile on and enjoy it.