NHL Rumor Mill – December 4, 2019
Check out the latest Taylor Hall speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.
ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan doubts the New Jersey Devils firing head coach John Hynes will prevent them from moving Taylor Hall before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. She feels they can’t afford to lose the 28-year-old winger for nothing via free agency in July. All signs point to Hall wanting to play for a different team.
Greg Wyshynski believes Devils general manager Ray Shero wants to spend some time with interim coach Alain Nasreddine evaluating the roster before making any sweeping changes. He feels they’re more likely to begin selling players (like Hall) than making moves to bolster their roster this season.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss lists the Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes, Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers, and St. Louis Blues as five destinations for Hall that make sense.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall doesn’t make sense for the Canadiens. They need skilled defensive depth, something Hall can’t address.
The Hurricanes need a scoring forward and have surplus defensemen to draw upon for trade bait. However, I believe the Devils’ asking price will be more than the Canes are willing to pay for a playoff rental.
The notion of Hall returning to Edmonton makes for sexy headlines, but I don’t think he’s a fit there. They’ve got over $57 million invested in just eight players next season. Adding Hall for the long term would push that to $68 million for just nine guys. If they want him solely as a rental, the Devils will want a significant return. My guess is they’ll want defenseman Ethan Bear as part of it. That’s a deal-breaker for the Oilers.
There’s an ongoing belief among the punditry that teams will find Hall more valuable if they know they can re-sign him. If recent reports are to be believed, his agent is telling him to wait until the off-season, when he’ll get better offers. Unless a club is willing to offer up an eight-year extension worth over $11 million annually, I doubt the Hall camp will be inclined to sign a new contract this season.
As for the Avalanche and Blues…
THE ATHLETIC: Ryan S. Clark believes the addition of Hall to the Colorado Avalanche could adversely affect the production of Andre Burakovsky and Joonas Donskoi. They’re each on pace for over 30 goals but their playing time would be reduced to accommodate Hall’s addition to the lineup. A bidding war with other clubs could also affect their chances of acquiring him.
Clark wondered if GM Joe Sakic is willing to mortgage the club’s future to win right now unless he’s convinced he can find a way to re-sign Hall. The cost of the latter option could complicate efforts to re-sign other players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the teams linked to Hall, the Avs could be the front-runners. They’ve got the cap space to afford Hall in the short term and plenty of prospects and young talent to make a competitive bid. I think it comes down to whether Sakic believes Hall’s worth the price.
Jeremy Rutherford questions if the St. Louis Blues can afford the Devils’ asking price and the high cost of re-signing Hall, especially when they’ve got to re-sign captain Alex Pietrangelo before July 1. They have over $73 million invested in 15 players for 2020-21. Rutherford doesn’t think it makes sense for the Blues to part with a top prospect and a draft pick for Hall when he won’t be back after this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues are riding high in the Western Conference right now. They’re in no hurry to swing a blockbuster trade. While I don’t doubt they’ve kicked the tires, they could prefer making more affordable depth moves.
Darren Haynes, meanwhile, looks at the reasons why it would, and wouldn’t, make sense for the Calgary Flames to acquire Hall. The winger would deepen the lineup and improve their core. However, the Devils’ asking price, the salary-cap implications, and Hall’s injury history are among the factors that could work against such a move.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames need help on the right wing. Hall skates on the left side, where the Flames already have Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk. And no, you can’t switch him to the right side and proclaim, “Problem solved!” He’s comfortable on the left side.
John Vogl wonders if the Buffalo Sabres should attempt to enter the trade discussion for Hall.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No. No, they shouldn’t. The Sabres need scoring depth and can draw upon their blueline depth for trade bait, but I don’t see Hall sticking with a club that’s still struggling to secure a playoff spot.