It appears as though Taylor Hall has played his last game with the Buffalo Sabres.
Interim head coach Don Granato confirmed, just hours before the team's matchup with the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center, that Hall will not play Tuesday night in Newark.
At first when asked about Hall's playing status on Tuesday, Granato said that it had been undetermined yet whether he was going to play, given the NHL Trade Deadline is just six days away. Shortly after addressing the media, the team confirmed that Hall would be kept out of the lineup.
With Hall coming out of the lineup, it is likely that forward Arttu Ruotsalainen will make his National Hockey League debut after being called up to the taxi squad on Monday.
This move will ensure that Hall is a protected asset for an impending trade ahead of Monday's trade deadline at 3 p.m. ET. The 29-year-old is, arguably, one of the top targets for teams to add for a stretch run this season, given that Buffalo is all but out of any playoff race going forward.
Hall's tenure with the Sabres was certainly a short-lived one, and a disappointing one, at best. In 37 games this season with Buffalo, Hall has scored just two goals, while adding 17 assists for 19 points. He managed to score a goal in the team's first game of the season against the Washington Capitals, but then went 19 games without scoring his next goal.
The former first overall pick of the Edmonton Oilers in the 2010 NHL Draft is currently riding another scoreless drought of 16 games, and has only managed to produce six assists in that span.
The Sabres signed Hall to a one-year contract this offseason during free agency that paid him $8 million. If Buffalo is able to move Hall before the trade deadline, the team will likely have to retain salary in order to facilitate the trade with another team.
Stay tuned for the latest on this developing story...