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  • Tim Burke

Boston's Third Line may be the best in the NHL and it is lead by Taylor Hall

It is almost impossible not to be excited about the Boston Bruins. The team's 20-3 start is the best in franchise history. They currently sit at the top of the Atlantic Division with 40 points, 4 points above the Toronto Maple Leafs; the Bruins also have three games in hand on Toronto. The best part? Nobody expected the Boston Bruins to be this good. They were supposed to fade and potentially miss playoffs. But the Bruins have proved the hockey world wrong. Their strong start to the season has been an entire team effort. Everyone on the team has contributed to the Boston Bruins success. But Taylor Hall is one member of the Bruins who deserves praise. The 31-year-old winger is in his thirteenth season in the National Hockey League. For the majority of his career, Hall has been a superstar. The former first-overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft has been an offensive force in the National Hockey League. Hall has scored 673 points in his career while winning the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player in 2017-2018 while with the Devils. Since winning the Hart, Hall has been plagued by injuries while playing some poor New Jersey, Arizona, and Buffalo teams. Boston is Hall's fifth NHL team. He has been traded three times in his career, which caused rumors of Hall's poor attitude in the locker room, which hurt Hall's reputation. Since arriving in Boston, there is no evidence of Hall having a poor attitude or not being a team player. It is just the opposite. Besides Patrice Bergeron, there is no player on the Boston Bruins with a better resume than Taylor Hall. No other Bruin was drafted higher than Hall, and nobody else on this team has a Hart Trophy to their name.

The thing is, all of Hall's accomplishments are individual accomplishments. For the majority of his career, Hall has played on bad teams. Hall has only played in the playoffs four times, twice with the Boston Bruins. As a competitor, Hall must have been frustrated playing on bad teams. In Boston, Hall has a chance to do more than get to the playoffs. He has a chance to win the Stanley Cup and is doing everything in his power to get Boston there. At this point in his career, Taylor Hall is not expected to be the player he was five years ago when he won the Hart Trophy. He is in Boston to provide the team with secondary scoring. Despite having an outstanding offensive pedigree, Hall does not play on the first power play unit, and this year he is not even playing on either of the Bruins first two lines. Instead, Hall is playing with Charlie Coyle and Trent Frederic on the Bruins third line, which has made a massive impact. If there are two things, Taylor Hall is still elite at its skating and puck protection. Taylor Hall is both extremely fast and strong on the puck. Despite no longer being the goal scorer he once was, Hall is still dynamic with his speed and creativity. His linemate, Charlie Coyle, is also strong on the puck and uses his size and strength to create space for others.

Together, Hall and Coyle play a heavy game where they are fast, physical, and wear down opponents by cycling the puck. They've created one of the best third lines in the NHL, along with Trent Frederic. The 24-year-old Frederic has recently praised his veteran linemates after his two-goal performance on Saturday, stating that Charlie Coyle and Taylor Hall have been excellent for instilling confidence in his game. Despite all of the impressive accomplishments and talent Hall possesses, he has no ego. The Bruins are not putting him in a position to have a massive offensive impact playing on the second power-play unit and the third line. But his overall game and effort level has not faltered, despite technically being "demoted" to the third line. Taylor Hall's presence on the third line has made the Bruins a better, deeper team. Hall may not be the offensive star he once was, but he is playing championship-level hockey. He is making his linemates and team better. The Bruins are one of the best teams in hockey, and having a player like Taylor Hall on your third line is a big reason why the Bruins are Stanley Cup contenders.

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