NHL Rumor Mill – December 2, 2019
The latest Taylor Hall speculation plus updates on the Canadiens and Golden Knights in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LATEST ON HALL
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun speculates the Colorado Avalanche, Montreal Canadiens, and Edmonton Oilers could be among several teams with interest in Taylor Hall. LeBrun broke the news on Saturday that the New Jersey Devils were listening to offers for the 28-year-old winger. He also wondered if the Calgary Flames, Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks would come calling.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins believes the Oilers could be among those at the top of the list with interest in Hall. He rejects the idea the Oilers can’t afford Hall due to limited salary-cap space. The Devils have over $4 million in cap space and are well-positioned to retain salary or take back a toxic contract to a team offering the best deal.
Leavins also suggests Hall could be receptive to signing a short-term contract extension with the Oilers. He cites the change in the front office and behind the bench, as well as the opportunity to skate alongside Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
Absolutely agree. Pipe-dream for Oiler fans, plus Holland knows he doesn’t have Cup contender and not mortgaging future for rental. As I’ve said, Colorado has most assets to deal… https://t.co/PvosglFJ2i
— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) December 1, 2019
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall returning to Edmonton would certainly make an already-potent Oilers offense more powerful. Rather than loading up on their scoring lines, they’ll be better served by pursuing more affordable options to bolster their depth throughout their roster. Their biggest need right now is a third-line center.
LeBrun cited ESPN.com’s Greg Wyshynski reporting he’s heard the Devils have scouted the Avalanche at all levels this season. They have the cap space and the depth in promising talent to make a competitive offer for Hall.
The Canadiens desperately need skilled defensive depth. Hall won’t help them in that regard. Pursuing him would be a waste of assets. The Flames already have sufficient left-wing scoring depth in Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk. They need help on the right side.
Bruins general manager Don Sweeney and Sharks GM Doug Wilson have a history of swinging in-season deals to boost their rosters for the playoffs. LeBrun thinks they’d have to get creative to land Hall but one shouldn’t dismiss the possibility.
WILL THE STRUGGLING CANADIENS MAKE A MOVE?
SPORTSNET: With the Montreal Canadiens mired in an eight-game winless skid, Eric Engels wonders what GM Marc Bergevin will do to address the issue. An impact trade would help, but that could prove costly at this time of the year. No teams are willing to do any favors for a slumping club like the Habs. Replacing head coach Claude Julien could be another option.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A coaching change won’t address the Canadiens’ lack of experienced blueline skill. Making a trade is the only way, but Bergevin will be forced to overpay by giving up at least one or two of his good young players, something he claims he’s unwilling to do.
Maybe Bergevin can pull off a steal of a deal, but I think he’s stuck with the roster he’s got right now. If he’s unwilling to sacrifice the future for immediate help, the Canadiens will miss the playoffs this season.
GOLDEN KNIGHTS HAVE AREAS TO IMPROVE
LAS VEGAS SUN: Justin Emerson believes the Vegas Golden Knights have several roster issues to address if they intend on turning their season around. They need a reliable backup goaltender, a top-end defenseman, and consistency on their third line.
Emerson notes the Golden Knights have made a splash at the trade deadline over the past two seasons. If they do so again this season, he believes it’ll be for a defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A consistent effort by Malcolm Subban could alleviate that backup goaltending issue. Those third-line issues are likely tied to injuries to Alex Tuch and Cody Eakin.
Finding a top-pairing rearguard by the trade deadline could prove difficult. St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo is the only one slated to become a UFA next summer and he’s not available. They might have to explore adding a good second-pairing rental.