EDMONTON – Taylor Hall hasn’t played a shift for the Edmonton Oilers, but he already accounts for two footnotes in the franchise record books after signing the most lucrative rookie contract in team history Monday.
Hall, who made history last month when he became Edmonton’s first-ever No. 1 pick in the NHL draft, has signed a three-year contract that includes the maximum allowable rookie salary of US$900,000 a season and bonuses that could push the value to $3.75 million annually.
With the paperwork taken care of between the Oilers and agent Bobby Orr, the 18-year-old Hall is already thinking hockey again.
Hall will be on the ice with several other prized rookies Tuesday when the Oilers host a development camp for top prospects.
“Now, it’s time to work,” Hall said. “All the excitement is over. I’m excited to get started tomorrow. I know this signing is only the first step. I’ve got a lot of work to do in that camp.
“Training camp is going to be good for me to not only make an impact as a player, but as a person and to really get used to the city and stuff. As soon as I get it (the contract) out of the way, it’s out of my mind and I can really focus on hockey. I let my agents take care of the money aspect.”
Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini and Hall, dressed in a bright teal shirt, tie and blue pin-striped suit, announced the deal at Rexall Place. Tambellini confirmed the contract is for the maximum salary and bonuses allowable under the CBA.
“The quicker you can take care of business, the quicker he can focus on the things that are important to him,” Tambellini said.
“He needs time to get back home, settle down and get focused on training so he’s fresh coming to camp. This is a huge step forward for the club.”
Hall, who led the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires in regular-season scoring with 40 goals and 66 assists for 106 points before a playoff run capped by his second straight MVP award at the Memorial Cup, hasn’t had very much time to relax.
Still, Hall is eager to get going.
“I haven’t done anything yet,” Hall said. “I’m not even on the team yet. That’s all I’m looking forward to now.
“My biggest pressure is making the team. After that, if I do, I’ll set some big goals for myself. You really have to stay focused on the task at hand.”
When the four-day development camp opens, Hall will be lacing his skates alongside 2009 first-rounder Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, taken 10th overall, and 2008 first-rounder Jordan Eberle, selected 22nd.
It’s a gathering that could provide a snapshot of the future for the Oilers, who finished 30th this season and have missed the playoffs for four straight years after reaching the 2006 Stanley Cup final.
“It’s so comfortable and so exciting,” Tambellini said, asked about Hall being the face of a rebuilding franchise moving forward.
“It was important, I think, the quicker we could take care of business and get the distractions away from him and allow him to get back to Kingston and get training and just focus on getting ready for an NHL camp.
“(Having) him here, with these young players he’s going to grow with, the people of Edmonton will see lot of these players at this development camp the next few days. They’re going to see them over the next few years.”