Taylor Hall On WFAN: Nico Hischier A Big Reason I Won Hart Trophy

The Devils' Taylor Hall skates with the puck against the Winnipeg Jets on March 9, 2018, at the Prudential Center.
Photo credit USA TODAY Images
By WFAN Sports Radio 101.9 FM/66AM New York
By WFAN.com

When Taylor Hall last week won the Hart Trophy -- the NHL's most valuable player award -- the Devils star joined a fraternity that includes names such as Howe, Orr, Gretzky, Ovechkin and Crosby.

"To be included with that group of names and the players that have won it before, it's very humbling and something I'm very proud of," Hall told WFAN's Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on Friday. "Now it's about taking that next step as a player and hopefully improving on that. I think I've included myself in a certain tier of players, and I want to stay in that. So I'm looking forward to next season."

When asked what clicked for him this season, Hall pointed to the addition of center Nico Hischier, last year's first overall draft pick.

"I think that was a big reason why I was able to have success and why our line was able to have success," Hall said. "He's a great young player, and he's going to be a great, great player for years to come.

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"And I just think overall our team really took another step as a group," Hall added. "We were able to play fast, and we were able to play tenacious, and that's how I kind of play as a player, so it was a perfect fit."

The Devils ended a five-year playoff drought this past season, but they were knocked out in the first round -- in five games to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"It was a learning experience," Hall said. "They're a great team that has skill top to bottom and maybe a bit more depth than us. So that's what we have to improve. It was a good learning experience to see, like, how can we beat these teams, how can we get better, and what do these teams play like, because we played Tampa Bay in the regular season, and they were a totally different team in the playoffs. They played harder. They played faster. It just goes to show you that you have to take your game to the next level in the playoffs."

Roberts asked Hall if he might have any insight into what Islanders star John Tavares, the NHL's top free agent this summer, might decide to do. Hall and Tavares work out together in the offseason, but that apparently doesn't mean the Devils winger has any inside info.

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"He keeps his cards pretty close to his chest," Hall said. "I don't even think his own fiancée knows, to be honest."

To listen to the interview, click on the audio player above.