As trade rumours surrounding New Jersey Devils star forward Taylor Hall continue to swirl and escalate, the Arizona Coyotes are believed to be the frontrunners to land the former MVP.
“We believe the Arizona Coyotes are the frontrunner to land Hall in a trade from New Jersey,” Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston said during Saturday’s Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada.
Arizona’s emergence as the team considered to be the favourite comes after a whirlwind last two days, during which Hall was scratched from back-to-back Devils games — Friday against the Colorado Avalanche and Saturday against the Coyotes — for what New Jersey described as “precautionary” reasons.
“It’s a bit of an unusual situation because the Devils are playing in Arizona,” Johnston added. “… We know that Florida has been involved in some trade talks, St. Louis, a couple other teams. But we believe the Coyotes have the best offer on the table right now.”
Arizona was one of the first teams to officially make an offer to the Devils, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, and currently it is believed that two of the Coyotes’ top prospects have not been included in negotiations.
“From the information we’ve gathered, we don’t believe the Coyotes two top prospects, Barrett Hayton or Victor Soderstrom, are in that offer,” Friedman said during Headlines. “It sounds like what the two teams are haggling about, or the player they’re haggling about, is Kevin Bahl.”
Bahl was the Coyotes’ second round pick (55th overall) in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. In 28 games for the OHL’s Ottawa 67s this season, Bahl has five goals and 15 assists.
The Devils have attempted to leverage the Coyotes’ trade package into better offers from other interested teams, Friedman added, with having Hall sit out the last two games serving as a last minute attempt to incite a more lucrative deal. But the Devils have struggled to find a suitor willing to bite.
Complicating any team’s pursuit of Hall is his contract status as a pending unrestricted free agent, a wrinkle the Devils have not currently done much to mitigate.
“The other thing we’re hearing is that they haven’t given anyone permission to talk extension with Hall,” Friedman said. “So we don’t believe that this trade is going to come with an extension.”
Hall, a Calgary native, has six goals and 25 points in 30 games this season.