With reports Saturday that the New Jersey Devils and general manager Ray Shero are listening to offers for prized forward Taylor Hall, plenty of speculation has drifted around the hockey world. Moving Hall, who has made it increasingly clear that he isn’t willing to sign an extension during the season, might be the best option for the Devils as the team certainly doesn’t want to lose him for nothing on July 1.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that there are a number of suitors who would be willing to acquire Hall. In fact, he said Hall’s former team, the Edmonton Oilers, might be among the top suitors in a potential trade Saturday night on Hockey Night in Canada.
“I do think that the Oilers are one of several teams with the likes of Montreal, Colorado and St. Louis who will be in this,” Friedman added. “But like Chris said, I think a lot of it depends on price for the Oilers and anyone else who may bite.”
Hall was originally traded to the Devils in 2016 for defenseman Adam Larsson and many in Edmonton would like to see that trade rectified and bring Hall into a top-six group that already includes Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and James Neal although the Oilers’ cap concerns could make a deal challenging.
Both Colorado and Montreal have the potential to easily sign Hall to an extension, while having the prospects and picks to make a deal work. The Blues would be a tougher fit under their cap constraints, but the team does have some prospects it could move and an expiring contract in Alex Pietrangelo.
- Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal writes that too many people dismiss the Oilers due to their salary cap. The Devils have between $4-5MM in cap space and are willing to retain salary for the best possible package. The Devils might even be able to take a contract back in a deal and with a significant amount of solid prospects and draft picks, it’s more than reasonable to think that Edmonton could acquire Hall.
- After a 4-0 drubbing to the rival New York Rangers, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks writes that it is up to Shero to fix the mess that is currently underway in New Jersey. With a 9-12-4 record, Brooks wonders how much longer the GM intends to stick with head coach John Hynes, suggesting it might be better for the Devils to move on from a coach that has failed to inspire players to play better against rival teams and has only reached the playoffs once in four years. Firing Hynes and bringing in the right coach might make a difference on whether Hall might opt to stay in New Jersey in the future.
- The Athletic’s Cory Masisak (subscription required) writes that the Devils are at a crossroads as trading Hall means trading one of greatest players in the team’s franchise history. Acquiring Hall for Larsson in that trade in 2016 was a key to Shero’s tenure as general manager and what the GM does over the next few months will have a major and long-term effect on the franchise. The team will also have to commit to a path which includes committing to a significant rebuild or attempting to rebuild the team like the New York Islanders did by replacing Hall with veteran players in hopes of competing sooner.
- In the same article, Masisak also points out that if Hall does get traded, that could also mean that several other players could be on their way out as Wayne Simmonds and Sami Vatanen, both unrestricted free agents this summer, would also be likely trade candidates. While Andy Greene is in a different situation, he might be willing to move his no-trade clause to head to a contender rather than stay for any kind of rebuild.