Wanted to do some extra work on Taylor Hall.
What a unique situation. Hands-up all of you who thought he’d take the team plane back to New Jersey on Saturday night after being scratched in Colorado and Arizona.
My fantasy football elimination freed up Sunday to consider the situation. Here are a few ideas on where this stands and where we’re going:
I always ask myself: what don’t I know? In the craziness of the last 24-48 hours, it didn’t seem like there were a ton of teams in the Hall Derby. Compadre Chris Johnston reported Arizona as the favourite, and he wasn’t the only person who thought so.
According to multiple sources, the Coyotes were not offering either of their last two first-round draft picks, centre Barrett Hayton (2018) and defenceman Victor Soderstrom (2019). Both are scheduled to play at the upcoming World Junior Championships. I had heard the two teams were haggling over another Team Canada player, 19-year-old Kevin Bahl from OHL Ottawa. He was drafted 55th in 2018 by the Coyotes.
I assume there is more to the package, but don’t know the details. It is believed, however, to be more of a futures-based offer. GM John Chayka would not comment on Sunday, but a couple of teams do think Arizona will go in a different direction if this continues too long without a resolution.
Since Saturday’s show, a few sources have reached out to suggest the Devils may have an offer or two that revolve around current roster players. We’re not talking about 30-year-olds at the end of their careers, but younger, established NHLers under team control. I’m lacking on particulars, but it indicates New Jersey GM Ray Shero must consider two different paths — a futures offer versus a “hockey trade” that can inject some talent right away. Or, can he work these proposals to do a little of both?
At the very least, we’ve learned to re-consider our timeline. When Hall was scratched back-to-back, I thought this journey was nearing its end. So did some clubs who kicked the tires. Now it’s less certain — especially if you consider one more variable…
DOES ANYONE GET TO TALK TO HIM?
During Headlines on Saturday night, I reported that, to this point, no one’s been given permission to talk extension with Hall or agent Darren Ferris.
I’ve mentioned several times I don’t believe Hall will sign during the season, and New Jersey is well aware of that. But, that doesn’t mean the Devils won’t allow a conversation if they get an offer they like that’s contingent on one. Not every team will consider that essential, but a couple might.
We’re used to players being sat out right before the trade deadline. Last Feb. 21, when New Jersey hosted Ottawa, five guys — Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel, Marcus Johansson, Ben Lovejoy and Mark Stone — didn’t dress. All were dealt. That’s life in the big city.
We don’t see this too often in December. It’s good for social media buzz, but I can’t imagine it is fun for Hall.
So, what happens if he’s still a Devil on Wednesday? That’s New Jersey’s next game — home against Anaheim.
Owners David Blitzer and Joshua Harris also run the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. That league went through a wild scenario in 2018-19 when the New Orleans Pelicans refused to play superstar forward Anthony Davis for nine straight games prior to the trade deadline. Davis wanted out, and the club didn’t want to risk injury. When the deadline passed without a deal, the Pelicans reportedly threatened to sit him the rest of the season, only to have the NBA demand he be re-inserted.
It became a farce, with Davis playing barely 20 minutes a night before being sat the last seven games of the year. He was eventually traded to the Lakers.
If Hall hasn’t been dealt, will New Jersey sit him again? I have to think the Devils approach it the same way they did last weekend — that if there’s enough traction in the moment, it’s in the best interests of both the team and the player. Does Hall agree? What about the NHL and NHLPA? We’re a loooooong way from the trade deadline. If they’re forced to dress him, does he just sit on the bench?
Something else to watch over the next few days, a suddenly more interesting time than we thought it would be.