The days leading up to the NHL’s Holiday Roster Freeze are always full of potential for big moves by teams looking to make a change before a stretch of mandatory inactivity. This year did not disappoint, as the biggest target on the rental market was dealt, highlighting a busy week. Here are the five biggest stories of the past week:
Taylor Hall Traded To Arizona: The week started with a bang, as the Taylor Hall saga came to an end with a trade to Arizona. The Coyotes sent a 2020 first-round pick, a conditional 2021 third-round pick, and prospects Nate Schnarr, Nick Merkley and Kevin Bahl to the Devils. New Jersey retained half of Hall’s $6MM cap as well. Hall was the top name in the rental market this season, but many were left underwhelmed by the trade return. The asking price may have been affected by Hall’s reluctance to negotiate an extension in-season, which he has maintained since arriving in the desert. Nevertheless, the Coyotes’ acquisition could make them the favorite to win the Pacific Division this year as they pursue the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.
Ilya Kovalchuk Leaves Kings: Veteran Ilya Kovalchuk is on the move as well, but his destination is yet to be determined. He and the Los Angeles Kings came to a mutual agreement on a contract termination on Monday, with Kovalchuk clearing unconditional waivers on Tuesday. The former superstar never fit with the Kings after returning from the KHL and could be tempted to return to Russia after this failure. However, he is reportedly willing to sign a minimum deal to remain in the NHL as he too is pursuing his first Stanley Cup, without much time left in his lengthy career.
Eric Comrie, Stefan Noesen Claimed: Three players entered the waiver wire on Wednesday and two emerged on new teams. Both goaltender Eric Comrie and forward Stefan Noesen were claimed on waivers. For Comrie, he returns to the Winnipeg Jets, the team with which he began the season, after making stops with the Arizona Coyotes and Detroit Red Wings. Meanwhile, Noesen only signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins a few weeks ago, but is already on the move to the San Jose Sharks. Austin Czarnik, the most accomplished player waived on Wednesday, but also the most expensive, was not claimed and remains with the Calgary Flames.
The Injury Bug Bites: Injuries are not exactly an uncommon occurrence in the NHL, but this week in particular took a heavy toll across the league. Just how bad was it? Here is the list of players who were announced this week as being out long-term: Josh Anderson, Danny DeKeyser, Troy Terry, Derek Grant, Andrew Peeke, Ryan Murray, Darcy Kuemper, Jason Zucker, Josh Leivo, Brandon Saad, Cal Clutterbuck, Anthony Mantha, and Oliver Bjorkstrand.
Chris Snow Diagnosed With ALS: Calgary Flames Assistant General Manager Chris Snow has been diagnosed with ALS, as disclosed by his wife in a public letter. As Snow begins this difficult battle, we here at PHR wish he and his family the best this holiday season.