Taylor Hall attended his first training camp practice with the Buffalo Sabres on Friday, marking the first occasion that he has taken to the ice in a Sabres jersey. The forward signed a one-year, $8 million contract with the team on October 11th.
Hall traveled to Buffalo on Christmas Day so that he would be able to get in a few early skating sessions before training camp officially began. In light of his new arrival, the Buffalo Sabres should greatly benefit from starting their training camp earlier than the majority of their competitors. The Sabres were one of seven teams that did not qualify for the Stanley Cup Qualifiers last season—and those that did will begin their training on Monday.
While becoming acclimated to his new team is a priority for Hall, the absence of captain Jack Eichel from Friday’s practice due to an upper-body injury has proven to be quite the setback. As a result, Hall was left to skate at left-wing while Victor Olofsson took the right and Casey Mittelstadt and Riley Sheahan switched at the center spot.
Despite the apparent setbacks, Hall’s performance has already made a strong impression on his teammates. Sabres coach Ralph Krueger explained: “His skill, his ability, his pace, you can feel it already and it gives our whole group confidence when you see somebody like Taylor. You know, he’s matured in a really nice way. He’s going to be a very important leader for us on and off the ice.”