Things aren’t going too well for the Buffalo Sabres.
After another loss to the Washington Capitals on Thursday, they sank to a 4-7-2 record – good for eighth in the East Division.
Still, life goes on and the Sabres are interested in talking contract extension with forward Taylor Hall.
The pending unrestricted free agent signed a one-year deal with Buffalo in October, but there is interest on both sides to get a new deal done.
Negotiations for that deal can open on March 12 for this season, with the trade deadline approaching April 12.
Hall was again held off the scoreboard Thursday and now has just one goal and nine points in 13 games this season. That single goal came on opening night. He’s a minus-10 and third on the squad in points behind Victor Olofsson and Jack Eichel.
“Right now, it’s been tough,” Hall said Tuesday after Buffalo was blasted by the New York Islanders. “I can’t lie to you. If I have four or five goals right now, you don’t really know what our season looks like, especially with how close the games we had and how much we’ve been in games right until the very end.”
Clearly Hall isn’t the only problem with the Sabres and clearly a contract extension shouldn’t be out of the question for a player of his calibre.
But production matters. Hall scored 16 goals in 65 games last season between the New Jersey Devils and Arizona Coyotes, a far cry from the dude who once put up 39 goals in the 2017-2018 campaign.
Two seasons removed from snagging the Hart, it’s clear something’s going wrong with Hall. This year was supposed to set a price value for the 29-year-old, but his lack of goal-scoring may not place that bar very high.
The Sabres only have Eichel and Jeff Skinner inked to longer-term deals and much of the field is wide open. Hall, Eric Staal, Tobias Rieder, Riley Sheahan, Brandon Montour, Jake McCabe, Matt Irwin, and netminders Carter Hutton and Linus Ullmark will hit UFA status after this season. That gives Kevyn Adams a lot of options for how he wants to shape this team.
Getting Hall signed to a sensible deal that pushes past the “show-me” contract of this season would go a long way to establishing team identity, particularly as the Sabres struggle to put wins on the board and pucks in the net.