Two of the top wingers expected to be on the market ahead of next week's NHL trade deadline are sitting out as their teams face off Tuesday night.
"It's just part of it. It's part of the business," Buffalo's interim coach Don Granato said, according to Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News. "We all know that. Taylor knows that. This game keeps you in the moment and that's preparation for New Jersey. We had a good meeting on them this morning and our focus points and objectives going into the game. So there's enough there, enough intensity to keep you focused where you should be."
Hall, 29, signed a one-year, $8-million contract, which includes a full no-movement clause, with the Sabres as a free agent in the off-season, giving him some control over his next destination.
The Sabres, partially due to injuries to captain Jack Eichel and No. 1 goalie Linus Ullmark, bottomed out with an 18-game winless streak that covered most of March and effectively ended any chance of climbing back into the playoffs in the deep East Division. As a result, the team has been rumoured to be selling on a number of fronts and has already moved veteran centre Eric Staal to the Montreal Canadiens.
A trade for Hall, a former Hart Trophy winner, will be complicated both due to his contract and his struggles this season. The first-overall pick in 2010 has not been able to establish himself at all with his third team in two seasons and he currently only has two goals and 19 points in 37 games. That, alongside a career-worst minus-21 rating which is tied for the worst total among all forwards this season, make this the least productive campaign of his 11-year career.
Still, his pedigree as an elite winger will likely still draw suitors by next week's deadline. The New York Islanders, who lost captain Anders Lee to a season-ending injury, have been connected to Hall, as have the St. Louis Blues, Florida Panthers and Boston Bruins. The Toronto Maple Leafs have also been said to be looking for another forward, although getting salaries to matchup would be difficult.
The Devils are in a similar situation with Palmieri. The 30-year-old sat out Sunday's loss against the Washington Capitals "in anticipation of a trade" according to his agent.
Palmieri, 30, has eight goals and nine assists in 34 games for the lowly Devils, who sit second-last in the East Division with a 13-17-6 record.
Palmieri — who is in the final year of a five-year, $23.25-million contract signed with the Devils in July 2016 — is pacing for his worst campaign since 2013-14, his first full season in the NHL.
Since his 2015 trade from the Anaheim Ducks to New Jersey, the native of Smithtown, N.Y., has put up five straight seasons of at least 20 goals.