Arizona Coyotes general manager John Chayka is using his downtown to work on multiple issues. One of those issues appears to be talking to the agent of his top unrestricted free agent, Taylor Hall. The GM admitted to Craig Morgan of The Athletic (subscription required) that he has taken advantage of the break to gather information and discuss a potential deal with Hall’s agent, Darren Ferris.
“Obviously, our intent was always to get through the season and not having any conflict with Taylor’s play,” said Chayka. “This leaves us in a bit of a limbo where it’s obviously not technically the end of the season, but it also wouldn’t conflict with his play to talk. All I would say right now is that both sides are gathering information and having some discussions. Where that goes I’m not entirely sure today. As we talk, we’ll see where things go.”
The Coyotes acquired Hall from New Jersey in December in hopes of convincing the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent to sign a long-term deal with them. Hall was supposed to give the Coyotes a Hart Trophy winning star on a team that is sound defensively, but has struggled scoring points. Hall has been solid with Arizona since then, scoring 10 goals and 27 points in 35 games, but hardly been that star yet. However, being traded does require an adjustment to a new coaching system and new linemates, so his lack of dominance so far isn’t that surprising as that could just come with time. Unfortunately, for Hall and the Coyotes, the season was suspended which has halted any progress Hall has made with those issues. To make matters interesting as well, Arizona has struggled since they acquired Hall, going 14-17-4, but some of that is the fact the team also lost the first-half MVP, Darcy Kuemper, to injury.
The trouble for Chayka is that he didn’t want to discuss contract with Hall or Ferris until the season was over as he didn’t want the negotiations to affect his play. Because the season is on hold with no knowledge on whether the team will continue playing even if play resumes (as Arizona is currently sitting outside the 16-team playoffs at the moment), there are plenty of questions, hence why Chayka has been in contact with Ferris often, although he does admit the two sides have not exchanged numbers yet.