The Devils have more cap space than all but two teams and one of their big needs is a goal-scoring winger to pair with young center Jack Hughes. They could use someone like Taylor Hall, who was traded away last winter to the Arizona Coyotes for a No. 1 pick and prospects.
Could Hall be back on the still-rebuilding Devils’ radar?
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Maybe, but a second marriage seems unlikely.
Hall will become a free agent at noon Saturday when the market opens, and he’s expected to chase an opportunity to compete for Stanley Cups as much as big dollars.
In the meantime, the Coyotes are shopping Hall’s rights, TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger reported on Monday. If a deal goes down, it probably would be for a late-round conditional pick in this year’s draft, which will be held this week (first round Tuesday night, rounds 2-to-7 on Wednesday).
The Coyotes are on the record stating they’d like to re-sign Hall, but they are just $3.6 million under the cap, which will remain at $81.5 million next season.
The rumor mill has had Hall going to the Colorado Avalanche, a Western Conference power that has $22.4 million in cap space plus a superstar center that he could be play with in Nathan MacKinnon.
There has been speculation that Hall could get a seven-year deal for around $70 million, but money that clubs already lost during the pandemic plus expected future losses could lead to both sides opting for a one-year deal.
Hall’s expiring deal was a seven-year, $42-million contract that had a $6 million cap hit.
If Hall’s rights are traded, his new club would have until Saturday to work a deal to prevent him from becoming an unrestricted free agent. If Hall becomes a free agent, he’d probably be the top forward available and second most coveted player on the market behind defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who has played 12 seasons with the St. Louis Blues.
Other teams that could be gunning for Hall include his first NHL team, the Edmonton Oilers, plus the Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens.
According to Cap Friendly, the clubs with the most cap space are the Buffalo Sabres ($33.7 million), Devils ($26.2M), Detroit Red Wings ($25.8M), New York Rangers ($23.1M) and Avalanche.
The two-time All-Star and former Hart Trophy winner scored 15 goals and 52 points over 65 games during the 2019-20 season, including 10 goals and 17 points in 35 games following his trade from the Devils to the Coyotes on Dec. 16. The Devils’ return in the deal was a conditional No. 1 draft pick (18th overall in 2020) plus three prospects – defenseman Kevin Bahl (2018 second-round pick), right wing Nick Merkley (2015 first-round pick) and center Nate Schnarr (2017 third-round pick). The Devils also gave up center prospect Blake Speers (2015 third-round pick).
Hall, who turns 29 on Nov. 14, was drafted first overall by Edmonton in 2010 and played his first six NHL seasons with the Oilers, averaging 22 goals and 55 points from 2010-16. He was league MVP in 2018 after scoring 39 goals and 93 points in 76 games to lead the Devils to their only postseason berth in the last eight seasons.
The Devils’ five playoff games in 2017-18 were Hall’s only postseason experience until this year when the Coyotes beat the Nashville Predators in a qualifier series and then lost to the Avalanche in the first round.
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