The Blackhawks have acquired five-time NHL All-Star and former Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall from the Boston Bruins, the team announced Monday. They also traded for the rights to Nick Foligno, who's a pending unrestricted free agent.
In return, the Blackhawks sent Boston the rights to pending restricted free-agent defensemen Ian Mitchell and Alec Regula, both of whom got passed on Chicago's depth chart and were likely looking for a fresh start elsewhere. Mitchell, most notably, reunites with Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery, who was his college coach at Denver.
"We are thrilled to be adding players of Nick’s and Taylor’s caliber to our organization," Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson said in a statement. "The two bring a wealth of experience and leadership that will strengthen not only our forward group, but aid in the development of our entire roster."
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The acquisition checks multiple boxes for the Blackhawks, who were searching for a top-nine scoring winger to play with some of their younger prospects like Lukas Reichel and Connor Bedard, who is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick. It also helps the Blackhawks get to the salary floor.
Hall has two years left on his contract at a cap hit of $6 million and the Blackhawks want to maintain their long-term financial flexibility, so Hall is a perfect short-term option to bridge the gap. The Blackhawks likely would have had to overpay in term for a similar — or lesser — player on the open market, given the thin 2023 free-agent class, and that's not something they are trying to do.
Another thought to consider: Hall could potentially be flipped at the trade deadline for future assets, whether it be this coming season or next, depending on his performance and value. The Blackhawks would probably have no problem retaining half of his salary, too, in that hypothetical scenario to make him more attractable at a $3 million cap hit and perhaps strengthen the return package. It's at least an option, even if that wasn't Chicago's primary motive to acquire Hall.
While still an impactful player, the Bruins were in a cap crunch and clearing Hall's contract gives them financial breathing room. Hall has a 16-team no-trade clause that becomes a 10-team no-trade list on July 1, but Chicago was not on the list.
Hall, 31, registered 36 points (16 goals, 20 assists) in 61 games with the Bruins last season. He also added eight points (five goals, three assists) in seven postseason contests.
Hall's best season came in 2017-18 with the New Jersey Devils when he won the Hart Trophy after setting a career-high in goals (39), assists (54) and points (93). He was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers with the No. 1 overall pick in 2010.