Blackhawks acquire Taylor Hall from Bruins to begin busy draft week

In addition to Hall, who remains a strong playmaker at age 31, the Hawks also acquired the rights to veteran forward Nick Foligno. Ian Mitchell and Alec Regula’s rights were traded to Boston.

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The Blackhawks acquired forward Taylor Hall from the Bruins on Monday.

The Blackhawks acquired forward Taylor Hall from the Bruins on Monday.

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images file photo

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Taylor Hall, a man who knows quite a bit about handling the pressure of being a No. 1 overall pick, is coming to the Blackhawks.

The Hawks kicked off their busy draft week by acquiring Hall from the Bruins on Monday, adding a new teammate and mentor for Connor Bedard — two days before they officially select him.

The Hawks also acquired the rights to forward Nick Foligno and sent the rights to defensemen Ian Mitchell and Alec Regula to the Bruins.

At 31, Hall — the top pick in 2010 — isn’t the MVP-caliber superstar he once was for the Oilers and Devils, but he remains a strong playmaking wing. Since 2010, he ranks 24th in the NHL in points (693).

Hall had 61 points in 81 games for the Bruins in 2021-22, then 36 points in 61 games in 2022-23 before adding eight points in seven playoff games. His role decreased somewhat last season; he ended up on the third line and second power-play unit at times.

Given the NHL’s ridiculously tight salary cap, Hall’s $6 million cap hit for the next two years proved problematic enough for the Bruins to decide to shed him for very little in return. The move gives the Bruins a chance to re-sign Tyler Bertuzzi, who otherwise will become an unrestricted free agent Saturday.

In Chicago, though, Hall’s salary will help the Hawks reach the cap floor. General manager Kyle Davidson has been seeking to weaponize his more-than-abundant space and finally found a dance partner in Bruins GM Don Sweeney. With plenty more trade discussions likely to take place this week in Nashville, Davidson might not be done.

Hall can be penciled in alongside Bedard on the Hawks’ first line next season, and he should provide Bedard both offensive support and plenty of off-ice advice.

After all, the Calgary native was not only a No. 1 pick, but he played with five other No. 1 picks: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011), Nail Yakupov (2012), Connor McDavid (2015), Nico Hischier (2017) and Rasmus Dahlin (2018). It became a running joke that whatever team Hall plays for at a given time invariably won the draft lottery; in this case, he arrived just one month late.

Foligno, meanwhile, is a pending unrestricted free agent, but the Hawks appear intent on signing him before Saturday.

The 35-year-old former Blue Jackets captain brings more than 1,000 games of NHL experience. He had 26 points in 60 games for the Bruins last season, but he’s more of a defensive forward; his analytics have remained strong in that regard for more than a decade.

“We are thrilled to be adding players of Nick’s and Taylor’s caliber to our organization,” Davidson said in a statement. “The two bring a wealth of experience and leadership that will strengthen not only our forward group but [also] aid in the development of our entire roster.”

Mitchell was destined for a change of scenery after his once-hyped Hawks tenure flamed out last season. He struggled mightily in 35 NHL games. Boston is probably as good a landing spot as any; Bruins coach Jim Montgomery coached Mitchell during his 2017-18 freshman year at the University of Denver.

It’s more surprising to see the Hawks move on from Regula this soon, but their wealth of defensive prospects makes his departure easier to stomach. He lost ground in the defensive prospect hierarchy last season, making only four NHL appearances compared to 51 in the AHL with Rockford.

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