While New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero has stated that he won’t pigeonhole teams into one specific type of return for superstar winger Taylor Hall, it’s safe to say that the eventual trade won’t be a one-for-one deal like the infamous trade that sent Hall to New Jersey in the first place. In fact, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports that the belief around the league is that it will take at least four pieces to acquire Hall. That could be current NHL players, contracted prospects, prospect signing rights, or draft picks, but one way or another it seems that the Devils are seeking a large return not just in quality but in quantity for their best player. Of course, Johnston also adds that conversations thus far have mostly been one-sided, with Shero encouraging teams to make offers, but not yet diving in with any one suitor. That has not stopped rampant speculation though that the Colorado Avalanche are the heavy favorites to land Hall, given their contender status, ample cap space, and depth in picks and prospects. Not only does Johnston echo this sentiment, but he states that there is some belief that the Avs intend to try to land Hall prior to the league’s holiday trade freeze in late December. Other teams rumored to be in the mix include the Arizona Coyotes, New York Islanders, and a possible return to the Edmonton Oilers. But in all likelihood, the only team without some interest in having the Hart Trophy winner on their roster after the trade deadline is New Jersey.
- Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that another name that has hit the rumor mill is Pittsburgh Penguins forward Alex Galchenyuk. Galchenyuk has been a poor fit in Pittsburgh since coming over in the Phil Kessel trade this summer, an idea all but confirmed by GM Jim Rutherford in recent comments about the team being unsure of his place in a healthy lineup. The impending UFA is being shopped and Friedman states that at least one team confirmed to be interested is the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres have been on the hunt for forward help all season and it makes sense that they could be intrigued by buying low on Galchenyuk. However, Buffalo is currently outside the playoff picture, tied for tenth in the Eastern Conference. If they were to acquire Galchenyuk, it would likely be a scenario that required an extension agreement. This could complicate the process and could lead the Penguins to consider other teams looking for a pure rental and able to make the deal sooner rather than later.
- Of course, the question would then become what the Penguins do next. Rutherford is not the type to squander excess cap space and would look to use Galchenyuk’s $4.9MM absence to his advantage. While the Penguins are currently short-handed on the blue line without the injured Brian Dumoulin, it is doubtful that they would have any interest in taking back a long-term defenseman. Instead, the Penguins could seek a rental defenseman (Buffalo’s Marco Scandella or Zach Bogosian perhaps?) or could try to add a forward who can replace the production that they expected from Galchenyuk this season. If the Penguins opt to replace Galchenyuk in a separate deal, the Rangers’ Chris Kreider and Senators’ Vladislav Namestnikov are players with similar cap hits and production profiles to Galchenyuk who will be available.