BUFFALO, N.Y. — Taylor Hall is betting on himself in a surprising destination.
Hall agreed to sign an $8 million, one-year deal with the Buffalo Sabres, the team announced Sunday night.
Hall joins his fourth NHL organization since being the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft. He’s reunited with Sabres coach Ralph Krueger, for whom he played the 2013 lockout-shortened season with the Edmonton Oilers.
Buffalo is the 28-year-old Hall’s third team in two years after the New Jersey Devils traded him to the Arizona Coyotes in the middle of last season.
The 2018 Hart Trophy winner as the NHL MVP, Hall was regarded to be the top forward available on the free agent market once it opened Friday.
He has topped 20 goals five times, including posting career bests with 39 goals and 93 points in 2017-18 with the Devils.
Hall has averaged 1.05 points per game over the past three seasons, which ranks 17th among NHL players.
The Coyotes acquired Hall in December in bid to use the remainder of the season to convince the pending free-agent to stay in Arizona.
In Buffalo, he joins a team in need of a major boost coming off a season in which the Sabres extended their franchise-worst playoff drought to a ninth year. It’s the NHL’s longest active streak and one short of matching the league record.
The Sabres lacked secondary scoring behind the top line centred by captain Jack Eichel, who led the team with a career-best 38 goals in 78 games. Forward Jeff Skinner particularly experienced a dip in production playing on the second line. A year after scoring a career-best 40 goals, Skinner managed just 14 last season.
Sam Reinhart and rookie Victor Olofsson, Eichel's linemates for much of the season, were Buffalo's only two players to top 20 goals.
Hall's addition comes after a tumultuous off-season in which general manager Jason Botterill and much of his staff and scouts were fired. Botterill was replaced by former player Kevyn Adams, who had no previous NHL front-office experience.
Adams has already attempted to upgrade his second line by acquiring veteran centre Eric Staal in a trade with Minnesota last month.
In Hall's one season playing under Krueger, he had 16 goals and 34 assists for 50 points in 45 games.
AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno contributed to this report.
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John Wawrow, The Associated Press