The New Jersey Devils have traded star Taylor Hall and Blake Speers to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a 2020 conditional first-round draft pick, a conditional 2021 third-rounder, along with forward prospects Nate Schnarr, Nick Merkley and defenceman Kevin Bahl.
“Taylor Hall is one of the elite talents in the game today; a Hart Trophy winner, a high-end playmaker and one of the NHL’s most talented forwards,” said Arizona GM John Chayka. “We are beyond thrilled to add Taylor to our team as we continue in our mission of bringing a Stanley Cup home to Arizona.”
Hall has 25 points in 30 games for the lowly Devils, who came into the season with their eyes on an accelerated turnaround after acquiring 2018-19 KHL scoring leader Nikita Gusev, former Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban and first-overall pick Jack Hughes.
But they’ve struggled to meet those raised expectations and their 9-13-4 start led to the firing of head coach John Hynes earlier this month.
With Hall’s seven-year, $42-million contract set to expire in the off-season and a shot at the playoffs well out of the realm of possibilities, the Devils likely wanted to extract any remaining value from his rights, rather than risk losing him for nothing in the summer.
Hall spent nearly four years in New Jersey, collecting 208 points across 211 games, capturing the league’s MVP award in 2017-18 as he led a surprising Devils squad to their first playoff appearance in six seasons.
The 28-year-old was infamously sent to the Devils from the Edmonton Oilers in a one-for-one deal for defenceman Adam Larsson during the 2016 off-season.
Hall recorded 328 points in 381 games with the Oilers after being selected by the club first overall in the 2010 NHL Draft.
Bahl was taken in the second round of the 2018 draft by Arizona and plays junior hockey with the Ottawa 67’s, where he has five goals and 15 assists in 28 games this season.
Merkley is a 2015 first-rounder of the Coyotes and is in his third season with the AHL’s Tuscon Roadrunners. In 26 games this season, Merkley has three goals and 13 assists. Schnarr, meanwhile, is in his first AHL season and has one goal and eight assists in 22 games. Last year, he had 102 points with the OHL’s Guelph Storm.
Speers, 22, has one assist in 10 AHL games this season.