Latest on Taylor Hall and Zack Kassian, plus updates on the Devils and Red Wings.
ESPN.COM: Rob Vollman lists the reasons why the Edmonton Oilers would be crazy to trade left wing Taylor Hall. Vollman also suggests such a move would be comparable to the Boston Bruins shipping Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars in 2013, believing the Oilers (like the Bruins in the Seguin trade) will only get two or more lesser players in return). Unless Hall demands a trade, Vollman believes it’s in the Oilers’ best interest to retain the talented winger.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Vollman notes, Hall’s been catching some blame lately for the Oilers “sagging work ethic” and their culture of losing. Hall isn’t perfect, but the whispers he’s “uncoachable” or somehow directly responsible for the club’s woes are ridiculously unfair. If the Oilers are dumb enough to trade him, they’ll regret it for years to come, just as the Bruins front office probably regrets the Seguin trade today.
THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford reports teams are inquiring about Vancouver Canucks winger Zack Kassian, who was a healthy scratch during the Canucks 3-2 loss to the LA Kings. Canucks management insists they’re not actively pursuing a trade. Botchford claims the Dallas Stars sent a scout to a recent game to watch Kassian and wasn’t pleased that he wasn’t in the lineup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Though Kassian has yet to blossom into a reliable power forward, there is apparently interest from clubs who are willing to take a chance on him for the right price. It’ll be interesting to see how first-year GM Jim Benning handles this situation.
ESPN.COM: Craig Custance reports New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello isn’t ready to give up on this season. Though veteran winger Jaromir Jagr recently said he wouldn’t object if Lamoriello wanted to trade him if the move was in the club’s best interest, he’s also not willing to throw in the towel on the season. If Lamoriello does go into sell mode later in the season, Custance suggests pending UFAs like Jagr, Michael Ryder, Martin Havlat, Steve Bernier, Bryce Salvador and Marek Zidlicky could become trade candidates. Teams could also have interest in young Devils blueliner Adam Larsson, who’s struggled to establish himself as a full-time NHL defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This month should tell the tale for the Devils. If they struggle through January and remain near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, Lamoriello will start fielding trade inquiries.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan, responding to questions from his readers, acknowledged the Red Wings ongoing need for a top-four defenseman with a right-handed shot. He believes Buffalo’s Tyler Myers and Washington’s Mike Green could prove too costly to pursue, as would Arizona’s Keith Yandle, who’s a left-handed shot. Khan believes if the Wings make a move it’ll be for a second- or third-pairing defender.