Taylor Hall is on the trading block again.
“He could be out,” Sabers interim head coach Don Granato said before his team face the Devils on Monday night. “We’re still, still undetermined. But that’s just part of it, it’s part of the business. Taylor knows it.”
Well, when the lineup was announced, the winger was well and truly absent. With less than a week to go before the NHL trade deadline (April 12 at 3 p.m. ET), Hall has been detained as a precaution to preserve his health and business value.
That Hall is available for the right asking price is no surprise given that his tenure in western New York has been, for lack of a better word, excruciating. In 37 games, he had two goals and 19 points. Yes, you read that right, two goals in 37 games, and the first came on opening night.
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That’s not what we expected when he signed a one-year, $ 8 million contract during the offseason. This is not what we expected when the 2018 Hart Trophy winner reunited with former coach Ralph Krueger, who worked with him for three years in Edmonton and praised during his media availability afterwards. Signature. And that’s not what we expected when he lined up next to NHL’s top center Jack Eichel.
Yes, Hall has struggled with injuries for the past few years and he only dressed for 33 games in 2018-19 due to a knee injury that resulted in arthroscopic surgery to remove bone fragments. But he also has some firepower with 582 points in 664 career games. One major concern, however, is that the 29-year-old 2010 first-round pick now appears to be destined for his fifth NHL team in just 11 seasons. Not a good look.
Right now, the big question isn’t really where will he go, but who can really afford it? According to CapFriendly, the next unrestricted free agent got a remaining cap of $ 2,206,897 (as of April 7) in 2021 – but there are a whole bunch of teams out there that have no wiggle room.
There’s also the rumored asking price to consider: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported on March 26, it’s a first-round pick. Plus, Hall has a no-move clause, but he’s unlikely to use it in this situation as things at Buffalo obviously didn’t work out.
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Either way, the rule of thumb is this: If a team really wants it, we’re sure they’ll take Tim Gunn’s advice and “Make it Work”.
So with that, here are some potential landing points for one of the best guys out there.
Taylor Hall trade rumors
New York Islanders
“We’re always trying to find a winger who scores,” said general manager Lou Lamoriello in his mid-season conversation with reporters. “Everyone is. It’s not something easy to do.”
Well Lou, maybe this is just for you.
At the start of Wednesday’s games, the New York squad is tied with the Capitals atop the Eastern Division standings. They did a better job this year putting the cookie in the basket with 2.95 goals per game (fifth in the division); last year it was 2.78 (22nd in the championship). But having a guy like Hall, especially after losing captain and leading scorer Anders Lee to a season-ending knee injury, would be more than ideal for Stanley Cup contenders.
It should also be added that with Lee, who was tied with Brock Nelson for the team lead in goals (12) when he was injured, the Islands have this very significant leeway when it comes to the salary cap.
There have been rumors that the Bruins are looking to improve their roster and Hall might be the right solution; after all, he would have been on their radar in October before joining the Sabers.
Right now, the Beantown boys sit last in the playoffs in the East with a number of teams within striking distance. And they surely need offensive juice. The Bruins have just a plus-11 goal differential, which is the lowest among the top five teams in the division, and have scored a meager 99 goals (not the worst). Remember, this is a team that scored 227 in 70 games last season. Basically they were on the pace of 267 games in 2019-2020 if there were 82 full games and they are planning 226 this year. That’s a drop of over 40 goals. Yikes.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs may not have had a chance to sign him in the last offseason, but Toronto is surely calling on the forward. He spends his summer vacation in the area and signed as close as possible to where his parents live in Ontario without crossing the border. (Note: Back when he signed, there was no way of knowing the border would still be closed today.) Joining the Leafs might just be the best thing for Hall in the long run, as he will be looking for a new agreement this offseason.
As for the Leafs, general manager Kyle Dubas has said repeatedly that the Toronto store is wide open.
“It’s no secret that we are going to be a team that looks to acquire players at maturity,” he recently told TSN’s James Duthie. He added that his team is flexible about whether their business partner is looking for picks, leads, or roster players. In the next three drafts, the Leafs still have all but two of their picks (2021 third and seventh round picks) and the team have high-end prospects like Rasmus Sandin, Nick Robertson, Timothy Liljegren, Filip Hallander and 2021 IIHF. . World junior winners for Finland, Roni Hirvonen and Topi Niemela.
This one hasn’t been thrown too much away, but it just may make the most sense – but only if Hall is signed long-term.
Since returning to the Saddledome, head coach Darryl Sutter has said on several occasions that the Flames roster does not have enough firepower to compete. When Hall is healthy and doing his thing, he scores; However, he may not entirely fit Sutter’s mold as his defensive play needs sparks, but he can certainly bury the puck on the other end. Which, by the way, is something that Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan have struggled to do this season. Could any of these guys finally be on the move after years of speculation? Sutter has called them both on more than one occasion for their lackluster play and there is a feeling their days in Alberta are now really numbered.
While some have said the big changes will likely come this summer, the fact that Sutter’s struggles only worsen issues with the roster’s make-up, GM Brad Treliving may feel the pressure to act now. Why? He might not be here for the summer review.
As for the Sabers’ end, Calgary has some draft picks. They also reportedly put David Rittich on the trading block, and considering Buffalo hasn’t had a better goalie since Ryan Miller, he could be a good addition between the pipes at Buffalo.
And why would that move pique Hall’s interest given that the Flames’ season is almost over too? He is from Calgary and he might be inspired to play for the team he grew up with by cheering for more than a few weeks.