Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – December 1, 2019
The New Jersey Devils are reportedly listening to offers for Taylor Hall. Check out the details, plus the latest on the Oilers, in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
DEVILS ENTERTAINING OFFERS FOR HALL
TSN: Pierre LeBrun yesterday reported the New Jersey Devils have started listening to offers for Taylor Hall. While that doesn’t mean for sure they’ll trade the winger, LeBrun feels their position in the standings and the magnitude of a potential deal has general manager Ray Shero in listening mode.
If and when Hall’s traded, LeBrun believes the deal could be conditional in nature. In other words, if Hall re-signs with his new club, the Devils receive additional assets. If this trade takes place, he believes it isn’t necessarily a move that must wait until the Feb. 24 trade deadline.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes Hall’s former team, the Edmonton Oilers, could be in on a Hall trade. Other suitors could include Montreal, Colorado, and St. Louis. He thinks a lot of it depends upon the Devils’ asking price.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Abbey Mastracco reports Hall was asked about the report following yesterday’s game against the New York Rangers. “I’ll let my agent speak but I have not asked for a trade,” he said. “I don’t know what gets out there sometimes.” He also declined to discuss his contract status, adding he’ll leave that to his agent and Shero.
NJ.COM: Chris Ryan suggests Shero listening to offers doesn’t necessarily mean Hall will be traded soon or leading up to the trade deadline, but rather allows him to gauge the trade market to evaluate potential returns. If Shero believes he can’t get Hall re-signed before Feb. 24 or an offer too good to pass up is made, Ryan believes he’ll pull the trigger.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wonders if Shero might instead fire head coach John Hynes, perhaps providing Hall with a reason to stay and re-sign if a new coach can ignite the team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think we’re well past the point where a coaching change can save the Devils’ season or convince Hall to re-sign. Shero wouldn’t be listening to offers if he was confident of getting the winger under contract. Hall will be traded at some point before the trade deadline.
Hall is the Devils’ leading scorer with 21 points in 25 games, putting him on pace for 70 points, well below his Hart Trophy output of 93 in 2017-18. While that could affect his trade value, some general managers will be convinced he can regain that 90-point form on a better roster. One could be willing to pay a significant return to get him.
The Oilers need secondary scoring but I think they’re better served to pursue a third-line center like Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau. The Canadiens need defensive help, not a scoring winger who’ll likely depart via free agency in July. The Blues could use a short-term replacement for sidelined sniper Vladimir Tarasenko. As long as they’re riding high in the standings, however, there’s no urgency to swing that deal.
The Avalanche could be an intriguing option. They’ve got the salary-cap space, plenty of good young talent, and a general manager in Joe Sakic unafraid of making a big move to help his team. Nevertheless, Sakic could be reluctant to invest too much in an expensive rental or someone who’ll cost a fortune to re-sign.
UPDATE ON THE OILERS
EDMONTON SUN: Jim Matheson reports it’s unlikely the Oilers will trade Jesse Puljujarvi before today’s 5 pm ET signing deadline. The 21-year-old restricted free agent is skating in Finland awaiting a trade by the Oilers. If unsigned by today’s deadline, he’ll be ineligible to play in the NHL for the rest of this season.
Matheson said GM Ken Holland has received so-so offers over the last couple of weeks. He said Holland is juggling two trade scenarios: “Does he want to trade Puljujarvi in a one-off or maybe as part of a package at the trade deadline for a rental in February? Or does he want to use Puljujarvi as an asset in a buyer mode to help his team’s playoff drive?”
Holland also said he wouldn’t trade his club’s first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft if there’s a chance the Oilers miss the playoffs. “If it’s somewhere between 20 and 30 (in round 1), that’s different,” said Holland. “You watch the draft lottery and you see Philadelphia going from 13 to two, and Chicago from 12 to three because they have a first-round pick and you don’t want to give up your chance at that.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Holland lets Puljujarvi play out this season in Finland and revisits efforts to trade him during the off-season, perhaps during the NHL Draft weekend in June.