Devils Trade Hall To Coyotes
The Taylor Hall trade watch is over. The New Jersey Devils trade the 28-year-old winger and minor-league winger Blake Speers to the Arizona Coyotes. In return, the Devils receive Arizona’s first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft (top-three protected), Arizona’s third-round selection (conditional) in 2021, defenseman Kevin Bahl and forwards Nick Merkley and Nate Schnarr. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports the Devils will pick up half of Hall’s $6-million annual average value.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report indicates if Arizona’s 2020 first-round selection is in the top three, New Jersey will receive Arizona’s first-round pick in 2021. As for the conditional 2021 pick, “the third-round pick in 2021 becomes a second-round selection if Arizona wins a Stanley Cup Playoff round OR Taylor Hall re-signs in Arizona. The third-round pick in 2021 becomes a first-round selection if Arizona wins a Stanley Cup Playoff round AND Taylor Hall re-signs in Arizona. If neither condition happens, New Jersey still receives the 2021 third-round pick.”
It’s an interesting move by the Coyotes. After years of patiently building with youth, they’ve opted to acquire the biggest available playoff rental player to make a push for the postseason. It’s a change from their previous big-name acquisitions, which was the contracts of all-but-retired stars like Chris Pronger, Pavel Datsyuk, and Marian Hossa in exchange for draft picks, prospects, and young NHL-ready players.
The Coyotes are in the thick of the Western Conference playoff chase, currently sitting in first place in the Pacific Division. However, they’re among the league’s lowest-scoring clubs. Adding a former Hart Trophy winner like Hall should provide a significant boost to their offense. With 25 points in 30 games, he’s on pace for between 65-70 points this season. Those numbers could improve on a playoff contender like the Coyotes.
TSN’s Darren Dreger reports this could be a pure rental for the Coyotes as Hall could test the UFA market. However, his agent is willing to listen to contract extension offers. Maybe if Hall enjoys playing in Arizona this season, he’ll consider staying there. The Coyotes, however, have over $80 million invested in their 2020-21 payroll. While they’ll get cap relief with Hossa ($5.275 million) on LTIR, re-signing Hall could cost over $10 million annually, meaning the Coyotes will have to shed salary to squeeze him under their cap.
Devils general manager Ray Shero didn’t want Hall’s status becoming an unnecessary distraction dragging on toward the Feb. 24 trade deadline. Given the Hall camp’s reluctance to sign a contract extension, it’s unlikely Shero would’ve received much more waiting for deadline day. The return does nothing to improve the Devils performance this season, but their lousy play to date pretty much dashed their slim playoff hopes.
Another roster rebuild is underway in New Jersey. Time will tell if the return for Hall turns into long-term value for the Devils. With an eye on the future, Shero could peddle his other pending UFAs (Sami Vatanen, Wayne Simmonds, Andy Greene) for draft picks and prospects as the trade deadline draws near.