He's now got 42 million more reasons to be excited.
This morning the Oilers announced via Twitter (Question: How did we get news before Twitter?) that Taylor Hall has agreed to terms on a seven-year extension worth a total of $42M or an average of $6M per season. This will keep the 2010 first overall pick with the Oilers through the end of the 2019/20 season at which time he'll be 28 years old. As Derek has shown (repeatedly), Hall is already very good and this locks him up for what will likely be the most productive years of his career. As far as I'm concerned this is a good deal for the Oilers.
More than Jordan Eberle or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Hall drives the play when he's on the ice. It's an over used statment, but he's the straw that stirs the drink and he's only played two seasons in the league. The Oilers are a night and day different team when Hall is in the line up. Unfortunately we know this because Hall has spent too much time out of the line up with injuries over the last two seasons. His rookie season ended with an ankle injury and a should injury derailed his sophomore season, not to mention a small cut to the head that kept him out of the line up for a few nights as well.
Given the length of the contract it's clear that injuries are the biggest risk factor for the Oilers in this deal. I'm not a fan of deals this long for that exact reason. Will Hall continue to have injury problem? He might, he might not. We don't know and there is risk in that. But the Oilers are looking at a lot of contract negotiations with some very talented kids over the next few seasons so this was likely a risk the team had to take to get the overall cap hit down and to set the bar for the rest of the Fab Four.
There is risk in the term but looking at the dollar amount it hard to argue that this isn't a good deal. Comparing this contract to the one recently signed by Jeff Skinner in Carolina, the Oilers got three free agent seasons (under the conditions of the current CBA) instead of two and it cost them less than $300k per season. Call me a homer but I project Hall to be a much better player in his prime than Skinner.
Even compared to the second contract signed by John Tavares, the first overall selection the season before Hall, this contract looks good. Last fall the Islanders and Tavares agreed on a six-year deal worth an average of $5.5M a season. The Oilers paid more but again got an extra free agent season. It's also worth noting that both contracts were the same percentage of the salary cap at the time the deal was signed.
It's hard to argue that the Oilers didn't get good value with this contract. In fact, this might be the best work Steve Tambellini has done during his time as the Oilers GM. We'll see what happens if and when an extension for Eberle gets done but for today I'm more than a little happy with the work of the GM.