Sabres' Taylor Hall open to signing extension with new team if traded

Chris Johnston breaks down the latest news around the league, touching on the COVID-19 situation in Vancouver and the Florida Panthers being in the mix for trade deadline.

Taylor Hall, one of the highest profile players available heading into the NHL trade deadline, is willing to consider signing an extension with a team that acquires him, Sportsnet's Chris Johnston has learned.

Hall's willingness to consider a new deal means, if a team trades for him, it wouldn't necessarily be a rental for a stretch run and the playoffs.

The 29-year-old's contract — a one-year, $8-million deal he signed in the off-season which includes a full no-movement clause — has been a complicating factor in the Sabres' pursuit of a trading partner. But Hall's on-ice struggles have impacted his market value, too.

A former Hart Trophy winner, Hall has not been able to establish himself at all with the Sabres — 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 campaigns of his 11-year career.

Still, the Sabres are believed to be a motivated seller ahead of the trade deadline. Partially due to injuries to captain Jack Eichel and No. 1 goalie Linus Ullmark, Buffalo 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. The team has already parted ways with veteran centre Eric Staal, who was dealt to the Montreal Canadiens.

The New York Islanders, who lost captain Anders Lee to a season-ending injury, has been connected to Hall. However, New York's recent acquisition of Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac may lead to them falling out of the race for Hall's services, but Johnston noted that there's still some thought around the league the Islanders are "low-key in the mix" to trade for Hall.

The St. Louis Blues, Florida Panthers and Boston Bruins are other teams that have been rumoured to be in the mix. The Toronto Maple Leafs have also been said to be looking for another forward, although getting salaries to match up would be difficult.

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