Taylor Hall is *officially* the new Boston Bruins second-line left winger.
That’s hardly a surprise, as he wasn’t going to bump Brad Marchand from the top line, and the Bruins didn’t trade for him to be a bottom-six guy. But Bruce Cassidy confirmed Tuesday morning in an appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub that Hall will be on the second line.
The B’s head coach indicated that David Pastrnak, who was been skating fairly regularly on the second line, will return to the top unit with Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. That’ll put Hall with David Krejci and Craig Smith, who was on the top unit when Pastrnak was skating with Krejci.
There’s a lot of reason to like the Hall-Krejci-Smith combo.
Hall and Krejci both are fantastic playmakers who are great with the puck on their stick. Smith loves to shoot, and is in the middle of a nice scoring stretch. It’s been a while since Hall played with someone as skilled as Krejci (the winger didn’t get to play much with Jack Eichel in Buffalo), and the pivot has long been looking for stable wingers that suit his game well, like Smith and Hall do.
As for expectations, Cassidy just wants Hall to play his game since he’s no longer in a place where he has to totally shoulder the load.
“The one thing we have that he’s missed in other places, no disrespect, is a winning environment,” Cassidy said. “You don’t have to carry the Bruins on your back every night.”
This all is a work in progress, and the Bruins might have to tweak things to find the right fit. But on paper, Boston’s top six is looking formidable.
Coincidentally, the Bruins play Hall’s old team, the Sabres, on Tuesday night. Puck drop from TD Garden is set for 7 p.m. ET, with pregame coverage on NESN beginning at 6 p.m. ET.