While he stopped short of stating that there is a lot of interest in Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall, TSN’s Darren Dreger noted on “Insider Trading” this evening that the team is receiving different varieties of offers for the former MVP. While some teams see Hall strictly as a rental, Dreger reports that GM Kevyn Adams has also received calls from teams with interest in a trade-and-sign potential. Despite Hall’s struggles this season, it seems that there are clubs who still believe in his long-term value once he escapes Buffalo. Normally, these teams would not necessarily need to inform the opposing GM of their post-trade intentions. However, given Hall’s No-Movement Clause there seems to be more transparency from suitors in hopes that Hall would waive to come to their team. Dreger relays that Adams and Hall’s agent, Darren Ferris, recently met to discuss these offers as well as those from teams who have not yet expressed interest in an extended relationship with Hall.
GM, agent, and player will all need to be on the same page for a deal to get done, but Hall has already stated that he is open to waiving his NMC for the right move, so it seems likely that he will end up traded. Yet, don’t be surprised if the deal doesn’t happen until deadline day. Dreger believes that Adams could hold on to Hall as long as he can, allowing Hall’s pro-rated cap hit to decrease as much as possible, as a tactic to improve or at least maintain his trade value. With so many team’s facing a salary cap crunch, a cheaper Hall is a more valuable Hall. To this point, it seems teams have balked at Buffalo’s first-round price tag for Hall, but their best chance of netting that return will likely be on deadline day.
- As young Carter Hart continues to struggle this season, it is becoming more and more likely that the Philadelphia Flyers will have to add another goalie if they want to compete for a playoff spot down the stretch. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that they are certainly considering a move, but have not made a decision yet. While the numbers for Hart as well as Brian Elliott are not appealing so far this season, bringing in a third netminder is not a simple decision. The Flyers would need to have the cap flexibility to carry three goalies and would also need to consider the mental status of Hart if they were to essentially bump the season-opening starter to a third-string role. LeBrun believes that Philadelphia will wait as long as possible to make a deal, hoping that their current tandem improves but also in order to take a realistic look at their playoff chances at the deadline and weigh whether a move in worth it. If the Flyers do opt to seek another goalie, LeBrun notes that the name they are being linked to is Detroit Red Wings veteran Jonathan Bernier.
- It would surprise no one to hear that the Florida Panthers are looking for a defenseman in light of the season-ending injury suffered by stalwart Aaron Ekblad. However, Florida Hockey Now’s George Richards reports that the team was actually scouring the market for a top-four blue liner even before Ekblad’s injury, which only served to up their efforts. The Panthers had enjoyed strong seasons from Ekblad, MacKenzie Weegar, and Keith Yandle and had not hesitated to give considerable play time to Anton Stralman, Gustav Forsling, and Radko Gudas as well. However, the team recently waived Stralman, which just goes to show how much they value his contribution so far this season. And while Yandle and Gudas have played well, the two are somewhat of specialists, only excelling at one end of the ice. With Ekblad gone, the Panthers will have to rely on Weegar and Forsling as their most complete defensemen and neither has the experience needed to lead a contender on a deep playoff run. It is likely this concern that prompted a search even before Ekblad went down.