Taylor Hall stated in his conference call with the media this afternoon that he was excited to be joining the Arizona Coyotes and would be open to an extension with the team prior to July 1st. Of course, no one would’ve expected any less from the blockbuster acquisition. In reality, there is likely some work to be done before Hall would agree to a long-term deal in the desert. In fact, he stated outright that he and Coyotes GM John Chayka have a mutual understanding that they will let things play out before beginning contract talks. First and foremost, the team’s playoff pursuit will play a major role in how Hall enjoys his time with the team this season and how he views their Stanley Cup odds moving forward. Hall mentioned several times in his call that he was looking forward to the prospect of getting back to the playoffs and was excited by the jump from the basement-dwelling Devils to the Pacific-leading Coyotes. The star winger has played in just five postseason games in his NHL career and joining a club that looks destined not only to make the playoffs, but potentially even win a round, could be enough to hook Hall in to a longer stay. However, how Arizona makes the playoffs will matter as well. While the ’Yotes have held their own so far this season, if Hall feels like he had to carry the team into the playoffs as he did the 2017-18 Devils, he could look to move elsewhere to a more balanced roster. For what it’s worth, ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski says that the vibe he got from Hall on the conference call was that Arizona was not going to be a long-term stay, but Wyshynski acknowledges that there is still plenty of time for him to change his mind. “It’s always nice to feel wanted,” Hall stated, which is a sentiment that will likely only grow as Hall finds his place on an upstart Coyotes franchise that, like himself, is lacking in playoff experience and excited at the potential of this season, especially after swinging this deal.
- CapFriendly was quick to point out after the Hall trade was consummated that, even with New Jersey retaining 50% of his salary, the team was over the salary cap ceiling as currently constituted. The team resolved that situation shortly thereafter, announcing that forward Brayden Burke has been reassigned to the AHL’s Tuscon Roadrunners. Burke, 22, had been on a tear in the minors with 24 points in 24 games to open the season. He had only just earned his first NHL call-up on Friday and had yet to make his Coyotes debut. But when a star like Taylor Hall is available, plans change and Burke will have to wait to show what he can do at the top level.
- With many not so impressed by the return the Devils received for Hall, several sources have stated that the Coyotes top prospects, Barrett Hayton and Victor Soderstrom, were never even on the table. Soderstrom, the team’s 2019 first-round pick, is likely even more untouchable after today’s trade. Having dealt Pierre-Olivier Joseph to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Phil Kessel trade and now Kevin Bahl to New Jersey, the team’s defensive pipeline has lost two of its biggest names. Soderstrom and Filip Westerlund now sit atop a list that otherwise counts long-term collegiate projects as its top talent. In all likelihood, Arizona will not be looking to make a major deal including prospects of Soderstrom’s caliber any time soon, but you can be sure that the young Swedish defender isn’t going anywhere regardless.