Although the Stanley Cup Finals are still going on and the current hockey season is still in session, there have already been numerous rumblings and rumors regarding the upcoming NHL offseason.
The latest rumbling came from David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period regarding the future of the reigning Hart Memorial Trophy winner and New Jersey Devils superstar forward, Taylor Hall.
Told that, as of now, Taylor Hall is not interested in signing an extension with the NJ Devils. He has 1-year left on his contract. More here: https://t.co/PLUlnm50My
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) June 3, 2019
Now to be clear, Hall, who is entering the final season of his contract with the Devils, has said that he is not interested in an extension as of now. In early April, Hall said that New Jersey needed to add more talent to its roster after finishing at the bottom of the standings for the second time in three years.
“You’re looking to see how we improve. At the end of the day, we lost 50 games. We have to upgrade at certain positions and I’m sure Ray knows that,” Hall said. “We’ve talked about that before a little as well. When the time is right, he’s going to strike, and he’s going to look to improve our team, so I’ll be looking to see what happens.”
The above quote parallels Pagnotta’s report. It appears that Hall wants to wait and see what general manager Ray Shero does to upgrade New Jersey’s roster before making any rash decisions about his future. Ergo, he’s not interested in an extension as of now, but that could certainly change in the not-so-distant future.
While Hall’s stance may upset a few Devils fans, they need to put themselves in his shoes. He’s 27 years old, one of the best forwards in the NHL, and has only made the playoffs once in his nine-year career. He clearly wants to win, so why should he jump to put pen to paper on a deal that will keep him on a team that’s not positioned to do so?
With that being said, Hall will wait while Shero focuses on adding talent, which he’s certainly in a position to do with $35 million in cap space and a plethora of talented prospects and draft picks, which includes the top selection in this month’s draft, which will be used to select either Jack Hughes and Kappo Kakko.
When all is said and done, the Devils should have a competitive roster that will be to Hall’s liking and dispell any reluctance to sign a long-term deal with New Jersey. However, what if it still isn’t enough and Hall ultimately opts against an extension with the Devils this summer?
The easiest answer to that question is one that many Devils fans will not want to hear; trade Taylor Hall. If the star winger is not willing to sign long-term, then New Jersey will have to consider dealing him. If they don’t, they could end up getting burnt for nothing like the New York Islanders did when John Tavares left via free agency last summer.
While trading a superstar in this type of scenario is uncommon, it has happened before. Just last year, the Ottawa Senators faced a similar situation with Erik Karlsson, who was also entering the walk year of his contract. Knowing that he was unlikely to re-sign, Ottawa dealt the star defenseman to the San Jose Sharks last September for a huge return. The Devils could do the same with Hall.
At this time, Taylor Hall is not on the trading block, but that could soon change in the coming months. If he is put on the block, he would instantly be the most coveted name on the market. His low cap number ($6 million) and tremendous skill set would be welcomed by any team looking to compete for the Stanley Cup next season.
Keep in mind that if you want to see Taylor Hall on your favorite team, just know that the cost will be high. The Devils, who are looking to contend sooner than later, will likely want a controllable top-six forward, an NHL-caliber defenseman, and a combination of prospects and draft picks for Hall. Trust me when I say that Ray Shero will not be fleeced in any type of deal for his star winger.
This matter involving Taylor Hall is more of a situation than a saga at this point, but it will be worth monitoring in the coming months as the NHL offseason gets underway. Will he remain a Devil or will he be taking his talents elsewhere next season? We’ll have to wait and see.