The Taylor Hall saga appears to be coming to an end. As many prominent insiders reported late this afternoon, the New Jersey Devils have sent the former Hart Trophy winner to the Arizona Coyotes. Ken Campbell of The Hockey News, Darren Dreger of TSN and Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic were all among the first to break the news.
Devils Pull the Trigger on a Big Move
This season has been an absolute roller coaster for Hall and the Devils. Early in the fall, there was talk that the two sides were talking about a contract extension, but then the Devils got off to a brutal start to the season.
A coaching change on Dec. 3 did not provide the spark management had hoped for. With the Devils near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings and the playoffs being a long shot, they decided to look for a trade partner for Hall.
The 28-year-old forward was held out of the last two games for precautionary reasons while Ray Shero looked for the right deal. After reported interest from up to six teams, including the Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers and St. Louis Blues, Hall will be heading to the desert.
Per Kevin Weekes of the NHL Network, the Coyotes will be sending forwards Nick Merkley and Nate Scharr, defenseman Kevin Bahl and a conditional first-round draft pick in 2020 as well as a conditional third-round pick in 2021.
Hall is in the final year of his contract and could be one of the big prizes on this summer’s free-agent market. However, Dreger says that Hall will not rule out an extension with his new team.
This is a huge move for the Coyotes, not only for this season but going forward as well. They currently sit in first place of the Pacific Division so the addition is a huge one. This trade also shows players, the rest of the league and, most importantly, their fanbase that they are serious about winning. This trade, along with acquiring Phil Kessel and signing Clayton Keller to a long-term extension, has made the Coyotes a serious contender.
Hall has six goals and 25 points in 30 games this season. He will fit in nicely with a group of forwards in Arizona that includes Kessel, Keller, Nick Schmatz, Christian Dvorak and Conor Garland. They certainly boast a roster for a deep run into the Stanley Cup playoffs this spring.