Daily Times (Primos, PA)

Sabres sit Hall, anticipati­ng deal

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BUFFALO, N.Y. » The Buffalo Sabres took the precaution­ary step of scratching forward Taylor Hall for their game at New Jersey on Tuesday night in anticipati­on the NHL’s 2018 MVP will will be traded in the coming days.

Team spokesman Chris Dierken announced that Hall would not be in the lineup in providing the update shortly after interim coach Don Granato called it a possibilit­y before concluding his teleconfer­ence call with the media on Tuesday.

The decision to sit Hall comes in the final week before the NHL’s trade deadline on Monday, and with the slumping Sabres in sell-off mode. Buffalo sits last in the overall

NHL standings and is all but mathematic­ally certain to extend its playoff drought to an NHL recordmatc­hing 10th consecutiv­e season.

Hall signed a one-year, $8 million contract with Buffalo in October and is eligible to become an unrestrict­ed free agent this summer. With most teams tight against the league’s $81.5 million salary cap, which remained flat this season, the Sabres are expected to retain a portion of Hall’s pay to make it easier to trade him.

Rather than spurring a Sabres’ turnaround, Hall’s addition has hardly made a dent in the team’s decade-long woes. The six-time 20-goal-scorer has just two goals with 17 assists in 37 games this season and hasn’t scored in 16 consecutiv­e outings.

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