It goes without stating the obvious that the 2019-20 New Jersey Devils have underperformed and are mired in 30th place in leaguewide standings. They also rank 28th in goals scored and 29th in goals allowed. To make matters worse, they have fired their head coach John Hynes due to their ineptness this season. Things are not going well in New Jersey. When that happens, changes are on the horizon. With Hynes being dismissed that could be the first step to improve the team’s standing. This brings about the question: will Taylor Hall remain on the Devils?
Taylor Hall Could be Traded
Once the coach is replaced, the evaluation of the players on the roster is next. It’s no secret that one of the team’s best players is winger Taylor Hall. He has been rumoured to be traded since his contract ($6 million cap hit) will expire at season’s end. Even though negotiations have taken place no announcement of Hall signing an extension has been made.
Of course, Hall will be a popular player to add to a number of team’s roster. He had an exemplary season in 2017-18 when he scored 39 goals, with 54 assists. He tallied 13 power-play goals and shot at a 14 percent accuracy rate. That earned him the coveted Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player.
So, let’s review which teams may actually have a shot at acquiring Hall, and how it would affect their team going forward.
The Avalanche are already a loaded team offensively with stars like Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen, Cale Makar, newly acquired Nazem Kadri. Adding Taylor Hall would transform them into an instant Stanley Cup contender. Without getting into who the Av’s may need to give up to acquire a player of Hall’s stature, they would be very interested if it could happen.
They do have a multitude of young players who could catch the Devil’s GM Ray Shero‘s eye. The Avalanche also have plenty of salary-cap space to sign Hall to a contract of his liking. They do have seven restricted free agents and six unrestricted free agents they need to address next season but will have $23.6 million to spend.
This puts the Avalanche in a strong position if the New Jersey Devils decide to trade Hall.
The Habs have been struggling lately with a 2-5-3 record in their last 10 games. Could an addition of a forward with Hall’s skills improve their team? Of course. But, more importantly, they could certainly use more help on the blueline. They will have just over $16 million in cap space next season. The Montreal club’s general manager, Marc Bergevin desperately needs to gain some respectability and improve upon his team just missing the playoffs last season.
The Penguins don’t have any cap space right now, but leave it up to them to determine how to manufacture some. They have Alex Galchenyuk‘s $4.9 million salary to use if they decide he’s a bust, which he has been thus far after giving up Phil Kessel to add him to the team. Another possibility may be Nick Bjugstad when he comes off the injured reserve list. His cap hit is $4.1 million through next season.
If Galchenyuk continues to not produce (one goal in 17 games) the Pens’ GM Jim Rutherford may work his magic to keep his team in the hunt. Being without Sidney Crosby is tough, and adding a player like Hall would help the Penguins this season.
St. Louis Blues
The Blues are rolling along and seem to be on a path to be a Stanley Cup contender again even without star player Vladimir Tarasenko being sidelined most of the season. It’s obvious that they need some additional offensive power to get through the season without Tarasenko. The issue is they will only have $7.7 million of cap space next season.
They, like the Penguins would find a way if they decide to go after Hall. It would help them defend their championship. The process may be complicated to make it work financially, but good teams seem to figure that out.
While Taylor Hall could be traded, he hasn’t asked for a trade, so he very well may wind up staying in New Jersey. It is still up for grabs what he will do. At this point, he is leaving the discussions up to his agent and Ray Shero.
With the coaching change, if the Devils don’t start showing some improvements it wouldn’t be surprising that Hall wants to be part of a team with a chance to win.
He’s an talented player and deserves to be part of a team with a winning culture.