NHL Rumor Mill – December 6, 2019
Once again, all the notable trade chatter is about Taylor Hall. Check out all the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Arizona Coyotes are “definitely interested” in acquiring New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall. He claims the Coyotes aren’t concerned about the asking price at this point.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes have the depth in promising young players and prospects to tempt the Devils. They’ve got limited salary-cap space ($2.65 million) but could afford to take on Hall if they move a salaried player and if the Devils pick up part of Hall’s $6-million salary-cap hit.
However, they might not be interested in him as a rental player. Earlier this week, former Coyotes captain Shane Doan told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM that they should go after Hall “if you can get him for a long-term contract.” If Hall isn’t willing to do that, the Coyotes could pass.
Pierre LeBrun reports Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic wouldn’t mention Hall during a recent interview. However, he indicates he wants to evaluate his injury-riddled roster once it’s healthy before determining what their needs are. Sakic also doesn’t want to risk upsetting the team’s chemistry. Nevertheless, LeBrun said the Avs management have discussed this internally. They’ve got the assets to make it happen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sakic could pull the trigger on a Hall deal if he believes his club has what it takes to make a serious run for the Stanley Cup next spring. In my opinion, they’re the front-runners in the Hall sweepstakes.
Bob McKenzie reports there’s plenty of speculation over the Devils’ asking price for Hall. Some suggest it could cost a first-round pick, a top prospect, a young player and maybe a conditional first-round pick. However, he said it’s his understanding the Devils haven’t set any parameters and are asking teams to make their best offer.
Devils GM Ray Shero seems open to anything, from package deals to a one-for-one swap. He’s also open to retaining some of Hall’s salary. McKenzie also said it’s wide open as to when the deal could occur.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shero may not have any parameters set yet, but I think teams making their best offers will include a first-round pick, a top prospect, and a good, young NHL-ready player. A one-for-one swap won’t be akin to the one that brought Hall to New Jersey. I believe Shero will want an impact player in return in that scenario.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples doesn’t see the Oilers getting into the bidding for Hall in a trade-and-sign scenario. He doesn’t dismiss the possibility of pursuing him as a rental player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve said before, the idea of the Oilers bringing Hall back to Edmonton makes for sexy headlines. Perhaps GM Ken Holland has looked into it.
Hall, however, won’t address the Oilers’ need for a skilled third-line center and additional defensive depth. That’s where Holland’s focus must be. If he wants more scoring punch, affordable options will be available leading up to the Feb. 24 trade deadline.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty doesn’t believe the Bruins should pursue Hall. He feels it would cost the Bruins the equivalent of what the Ottawa Senators received from the Vegas Golden Knights for Mark Stone (“forward and D-man prospects along with a high draft pick”).
Haggerty also wondered if young Bruins like Brandon Carlo, Anders Bjork, or Jake DeBrusk would be in the Devils’ crosshairs. He feels it would be a steep price to pay for a player who could depart via free agency in July. He also doubts they can’t afford to re-sign him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good points by Haggerty. Nevertheless, the Bruins are in “win-now” mode and secondary scoring is a concern. It wouldn’t surprise me if GM Don Sweeney takes a serious look at Hall as a playoff rental.
THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens examined if it was realistic for the Anaheim Ducks to pursue Hall. He considers it a fanciful notion, pointing out GM Bob Murray’s reluctance to part with his 2020 first-round pick. He also noted Hall’s injury history and his previous relationship with Ducks coach Dallas Eakins.
Josh Yohe believes the odds are against the Pittsburgh Penguins acquiring Hall. He feels they lack the type of promising young assets to outbid other clubs. GM Jim Rutherford isn’t unwilling to part with his first-round pick, but he also wants to ensure he has sufficient prospects for when Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are done. Given Matt Murray’s struggles, they could be reluctant to part with a goaltender right now. Shedding salary to free up room for Hall’s cap hit, even on retained salary, won’t be easy.
Kevin Kurz believes Hall to the San Jose Sharks seems unlikely, but GM Doug Wilson has made creative deals for big-name talent in the past. However, they lack a first-round pick in the 2020 draft, possess limited salary-cap space, and lack depth in young assets to outbid other clubs.
Arthur Staple includes acquiring Hall among his list of possible moves for the New York Islanders to add depth to their roster. Hall’s not a center but Staple considers him a lineup-changer. They have the salary-cap space, but he wonders if GM Lou Lamoriello would invest assets in a rental like Hall.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, Lance Lysowski was asked about the chances of Sabres GM Jason Botterill pursuing Hall. “Zero. General Manager Jason Botterill isn’t in the market for rentals, especially one as expensive as Hall,” replied Lysowski.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t consider the Ducks, Penguins, Sabres, or Sharks as serious bidders for Hall’s services. The Islanders, on the other hand, have the cap space and the assets to be an intriguing bidder. Granted, their more pressing need is for third-line depth, but a first line with Hall skating on the left side of center Mathew Barzal could be dynamite. If Lamoriello believes his team has what it takes to make a run for the Cup next spring, maybe he can make it happen.