New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall appears to be on the trade block.
As per TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, the 28-year-old forward could potentially be on the move, as general manager Ray Shero is exploring his options with the Devils sitting second-to-last in the Eastern Conference with a 9-12-4 record and needing a change.
Hall’s contract — which carries a $6 million AAV — expires in 2020, when he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent. However, if he does move, whether it be through a trade or new contract, he does have a preference as to where he wants to be: on a winning team.
“You want to play on the best team possible, and I’ve played nine seasons in the NHL and only won one playoff game,” Hall told the Associated Press. “You want to be on a team that’s not only a playoff contender but a Stanley Cup contender every year because I only have so many more years left in this league and so many more chances to win a Stanley Cup. It hasn’t even come close yet. I kind of want to make up for lost time, but at the same time, want to be smart with everything that’s going on.”
That being said, here are a few of the potential trade destinations for Hall.
As per ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski, the Devils have been scouting the Avs”atall levels,” and Colorado could ultimately work something out for Hall.
First off, Colorado has the cap space to acquire him, with over $23 million in space this summer. Given the team has a lot of top-line firepower in the likes Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, it could use more secondary scoring and another player to make up that core. That’s of course where Hall comes into play.
Second, not only do the Avs have the financials, but they have a lot to give back to Shero. Their talent pool —from Andre Burakovsky to J.T. Compher— is enough to compensate for the services of the 2010 first-overall pick.
Most importantly for the Avalanche, though: Hall would serve as a rental to give the team the boost it needs to reach its full potential and be a true Cup contender before it’s too late. It won’t be long before Colorado faces a conundrum where the it’ll have too many players to re-sign and not enough to afford to keep all those pieces, shortening the window to win with what the team currently has.
General manager Marc Bergevin made it no secret over the summer that he was in the market for a big-name forward when he made an offer sheet for Sebastian Aho. With that offer sheet, he showed he was ready to go for a home run.
So, Hall makes sense. The Habs currently have $7.727 million in cap space and could afford his contract. Not to mention, TSN’s Darren Dreger also pointed out that Montreal could be an attractive option for Hall. The Canadiens have also proven thatthey’re a playoff-caliber team that could very well make a run after just missing the postseason last year.
He’d provide a huge boost to the team’s offense, which already features Brendan Gallagher leading the charge. Still, if he were to join the club, the Habs would have to give up an appealing return andalso clear more cap space for the future, with Max Domi and company requiring extensions in the next few years.
Pittsburgh knows how to win, which is automatically appealing to a player like Hall, and the Penguins also have the talentto pull it off — along with the desire to make a deep playoff run again. So, adeal would be a win-win for both of these clubs.
First off, the biggest priority will be to clear cap space, given the Penshave less than $2 million right now. However, Alex Galchenyuk and a few other names could be packaged together to make a reasonable offer to Shero, while also shedding salary in order to get Hall on the roster.
Without Phil Kessel, the Penguins are missing some of that secondary scoring that goes beyond Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Hall would fit right in, and would also get his chance to join a Cup-contending team.
It’d be interesting to see Hall on the other side of the Battle of Alberta — and it’s a possibility for a Flames team that’s looking to not only stay in the playoff race after finishing atop the Western Conference regular-season standings last season, but to add more offense as well.
Calgary’s start to the season has been less than ideal, and as the team looks to turn the tide post-U.S. Thanksgiving, Hall could be a major asset. The Flames’ 2.39 goals for per game is the third-worst in the NHL, and beyond Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreauthe team isn’t getting the offense it needs as the playoff race gets tighter.
In addition, Calgary would have a lot to offer in return (cue the Johnny Gaudreau speculation), especially as they see the need to shed salary to bring Hall on board.
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