Taylor Strba Hall (born November 14, 1991) is a Canadian professional ice hockey left winger currently playing for the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League (NHL). He was the first overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft selected by the Edmonton Oilers. Hall had a highly successful junior career, helping the Ontario Hockey League (OHL)'s Windsor Spitfires to two consecutive Memorial Cup championships in 2009 and 2010. He was named Most Valuable Player of the Memorial Cup tournament both years. Hall's agent is former NHL defenceman Bobby Orr. On July 5, 2010, Hall signed his first professional contract with the Oilers.
Hall was born in Calgary, Alberta, the son of Steve Hall and Kim Strba. His father was a former Canadian Football League (CFL) player for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Toronto Argonauts and Ottawa Rough Riders in the mid-1980s, after which he was a member of the Canadian national bobsleigh team. His mother introduced him to organized hockey at the age of five while his father maintained a backyard rink every winter which Hall and his friends practiced on relentlessly. His family moved to Kingston, Ontario, in 2005, where he attended high school at Frontenac Secondary School..
Hall started playing minor hockey in Calgary, Alberta. When he was 13, his family moved to Kingston, Ontario, where he continued to play. Hall captured a Bantam AAA Calgary city championship with the North East Canucks during the 2004–05 season. In 2005–06 and 2006–07 Hall played Bantam and Minor Midget hockey for the Greater Kingston Predators of the ODMHA league. Hall was named to the ODMHA Midget AAA All-Star team. After the season, Hall was the second overall choice in the 2007 Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Priority Selection by the Windsor Spitfires. Ryan O'Reilly was selected first overall ahead of Hall by the Erie Otters.
Hall made his OHL debut in 2007–08, scoring a team-high 45 goals and adding 39 assists for 84 points, which was third in team scoring. In March, he was named OHL Player of the Week twice (March 3 and March 10). He was named OHL and CHL Rookie of the Year after the season.
During the 2008–09 OHL season, Hall was selected to represent the OHL in the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge. He scored 38 goals and added 52 assists to finish with 90 points. Windsor had a successful season on the ice, capturing the OHL Championship as well as the Memorial Cup. During the OHL playoffs, Hall scored 16 goals and added 20 assists while being awarded the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award as Playoff MVP. He scored the game winning overtime goal in the fifth and deciding game of the OHL Finals against the Brampton Battalion to clinch the title. At the 2009 Memorial Cup, Hall recorded eight points in six games, as the Spitfires defeated the Kelowna Rockets 4–1 in the final. After the tournament, Hall was awarded the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as Tournament MVP and was named to the Tournament All-Star Team along with his teammate Ryan Ellis.
Though the odds of him playing in Russia were remote, Hall was drafted 89th overall by the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL)'s Ak Bars Kazan on June 1, 2009. He was one of three Canadian junior players (all from the OHL) taken in the 2009 KHL Draft, which begins selecting players a year younger than the NHL does. Hall was an early favourite to be the top pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft since entering the junior ranks. He was praised early in his junior career on Hockey Night in Canada by commentator Don Cherry during his "Coach's Corner" segment. He was also featured in a July 2008 issue of Sports Illustrated, profiling young athletes poised to star in their sports.
Hall finished the 2009–10 OHL season tied for first place in the OHL with Tyler Seguin with 106 points (40 goals and 66 assists) to win the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy alongside Seguin. Hall was instrumental in the Spitfires' 2010 J. Ross Robertson Cup championship, recording a playoff-leading 35 points in 19 post-season games. His teammate, Adam Henrique, won the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award, scoring 20 goals.
In May 2010, Hall helped lead the Spitfires to their second-straight Memorial Cup. With the victory, Hall was awarded his second straight Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as tournament MVP, the first player in its history to repeat as a winner, the Ed Chynoweth Trophy as Memorial Cup scoring leader, and a spot on the tournament All-Star team for the second straight year.
Hall was ranked as the top North American prospect by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau (CSB) in its 2009–10 midterm rankings. In the CSB's final rankings, he was overtaken by Tyler Seguin as the top ranked North American prospect. He has cited New York Islanders forward and 2009 NHL Entry Draft first overall pick John Tavares as a role model, both on and off the ice.
Shortly after being selected first overall by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Hall signed his first professional contract. The contract pays Hall the entry level maximum of $900,000 with the possibility of an additional $2.85 million in performance bonuses. This is the highest rookie contract in Oilers history.
Hall was given permission to wear the jersey number 4, which had belonged to former Oilers' player Kevin Lowe, who was then serving as the Oilers' President of Hockey Operations and who had been the only Oiler to wear the number 4 in its NHL history.
Hall made his NHL debut on October 7, 2010, as the Oilers defeated arch-rivals, the Calgary Flames at Rexall Place. Hall's first NHL point, an assist, came in his second game, against the Florida Panthers on October 10, 2010; Shawn Horcoff redirected Hall's shot in front of the net. His first NHL goal came on October 28, 2010, against Steve Mason of the Columbus Blue Jackets and his former coach with the Windsor Spitfires, Bob Boughner.
Hall got his first NHL hat-trick and natural hat-trick against the Atlanta Thrashers on February 19, 2011. With the Oilers down two goals, Hall scored three consecutive power play goals in a span of 12:53, as the Oilers prevailed by a score of 5–3.
On March 3, 2011, Hall recorded his first career Gordie Howe hat trick on a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Hall scored a goal against Steve Mason, assisted on a goal by Jordan Eberle, and fought with Derek Dorsett, in an eventual 4–2 win. The fight with Dorsett, however, ended his rookie season early as Hall suffered a high ankle sprain at the end of the fight. Hall finished his rookie season scoring 22 goals and 20 assists in 65 games.
Hall recorded his second career NHL hat-trick in a 9–2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks after going nine games without a goal.
On January 17, 2012, Hall was cut by teammate Corey Potter's skate before a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets during warmup, resulting in a deep cut to his face that required 30 stitches to close.
It was announced that Hall would need major shoulder surgery and would need five-to-six months to recover, ending his successful sophomore year. Despite missing 21 games, Hall was still tied for fifth for power play goals.
On August 21, 2012, Hall signed a seven-year extension with the Oilers worth $42 million, for an average of $6 million a year.
On January 26, 2013, Hall recorded his 100th career point with two assists in a 4–3 loss against the Calgary Flames.
On March 30, 2013, Hall set a new franchise record by scoring a hat-trick just 7:53 into the game.
Hall finished the 2012–13 within the top 10 in league scoring, finishing nine, also recording a career high of 34 assists, good enough for eighth in NHL scoring.
On October 17, 2013, Hall broke Wayne Gretzky's previous record of two goals in nine seconds by scoring two in eight. Gretzky congratulated him shortly after.
Hall was named to his first NHL All-Star Game, in January 2016.
New Jersey Devils
On June 29, 2016, Hall was traded to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Adam Larsson. The transaction is a major part of the "23 Minutes of Madness" in which many blockbuster transactions were made throughout the NHL. Hall changed his number to 9, as the Devils retired number 4.
Hall represented Canada at the 2008 IIHF World U18 Championships in Kazan, Russia, as one of five 16-year-olds. He was fifth in tournament scoring, with nine points in seven games, helping Canada to a gold medal. He returned to Canada's under-18 team to earn a second gold medal at the 2008 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Slovakia as an alternate captain to Matt Duchene.
Hall made Canada's national junior team for the 2010 World Junior Championships in Saskatchewan. He was the lone draft-eligible player selected to the final roster. Hall scored a hat-trick against Slovakia, in a game Canada ended up winning 8–2. After the championships, Hall finished tied for third overall in scoring with his Canadian teammate Alex Pietrangelo along with American Jerry D'Amigo. He ended up with six goals and six assists (12 points) in six games.
Hall was invited to Hockey Canada's summer evaluation camp for the 2011 World Junior Tournament, but declined to participate, choosing instead to focus on making the Oilers' roster for the upcoming season. According to Hockey Canada policy, Hall would have been ineligible to participate in the tournament even if he was available.
Hall played at the 2016 World Championships, where Canada successfully defended their gold medal.
Regular season and playoffs
|2006–07||Kingston Predators Min. Midget||OMHA||29||44||41||85||10||—||—||—||—||—|
|2012–13||Oklahoma City Barons||AHL||28||14||20||34||33||—||—||—||—||—|
Awards and honors
|OHL All-Rookie Team||2008|
|Emms Family Award||2008|
|CHL Rookie of the Year Award||2008|
|OHL First-Team All-Star||2009|
|Wayne Gretzky 99 Award||2009|
|Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy||2010|
|Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy||2009|
|Memorial Cup All-Star team||2009|
|Ed Chynoweth Trophy||2010|
|CHL Second-Team All-Star||2010|
|CCM/AHL Player of the Week (Ending Nov 25, 2012)||2012|