Things have not gone as expected in New Jersey this season. A season that began with promise and expectations has taken a turn for the worst and with Taylor Hall ready to hit free agency in the summer, the Devils are looking to cash in on him. TSN insider Pierre Lebrun tweeted this the other day

What had been speculated by fans and media alike was confirmed, Hall will not be a Devil past the trade deadline. Hall, who just turned 28, has started the season quite well considering how poor the Devils have been.

As shown by his RAPM chart here (Thanks, Evolving Hockey) Hall has had a good year offensively, but has had a career-low shooting percentage of 4.1 percent which is affecting his output. Defensively, it is no surprise to see Hall doing poorly as every player on the Devils has struggled in their own end to start the year. The winger has 22 points in 27 games and is coming off an injury-riddled season last year, but still had 37 points in 33 games. Of course, Hall had an incredible 2017-2018 campaign where he won league MVP and led the Devils to the playoffs. 

Hall is clearly an elite talent and is in the early-middle of his prime. There will be no shortage of teams lining up for him, but the fact that he isn’t controllable is a worry for some teams. The Devils are playing with house money here, they already won the trade to acquire Hall giving up pretty much nothing of significance for him. So any decent trade is a win for them. Due to Hall being a UFA, it is hard to predict what the return for him will be. Looking at similar past situations, the closest player to Hall that was traded recently is Mark Stone. Stone’s situation was a bit different because there was only one place he wanted to go which was, of course, Vegas. In return, Ottawa got an elite prospect in Erik Brannstrom, a 2nd rounder and Oscar Lindberg (who cares). Hall is better than Stone and is open (I think) to go pretty much anywhere. I think Hall tends to get underrated partially because of where he plays and also due to injuries, but this guy scores wherever he goes. 

Usually, an elite rental such as Hall would return a 1st rounder, an elite prospect, a young player and a condition to add more if Hall re-signs with that team. However, TSN insider Bob Mackenzie said today that we should expect anything from Devils GM Ray Shero, such as a package deal or even a one for one. With all of this in mind, I am going to look at 5 or 6 teams that been rumoured to be interested in Hall and what the trade could look like. I should also add, I do not think any team should pay Hall 8 years at around 10 million a year, less term and more money is the way to go in my opinion.

Arizona

  • Devils Get Victor Soderstrom, 2020 1st, 2021 2nd, 
  • Coyotes Get Taylor Hall

*Devils retain 40 percent of Hall’s salary

Why it makes sense for the Coyotes

Elliott Friedman reported yesterday on the 31 Thoughts podcast that he thinks the Coyotes will be big players for Hall. The move makes a lot of sense for a Coyotes team that has struggled to score this season. Arizona is 21st in the league in GPG this year and adding a player like Hall would instantly make them more dynamic. The Yotes’ are 1st in the Pacific as of writing and look like a team that could make noise come spring. Losing Soderstrom would hurt, but if they were able to re-sign Hall that loss would hurt a lot less. 

Why it makes sense for the Devils

The Devils are very weak on the backend and do not have many high-end D prospects either. In getting Soderstrom they are getting exactly that. The 17th overall pick in the 2019 draft, Soderstrom played 44 games in the Swedish Elite League last season. He has 8 points in 14 games to start this year as well. Corey Pronman, The Senior NHL prospects writer for The Atheltic, has Soderstrom listed in the very good tier, but I think his upside is even higher than that. The 18-year-old Swede is a smooth skater and moves the puck extremely well. He has elite hockey IQ and is very offensively gifted for a defenceman. He is one to watch at this year’s World Juniors. As for the 1st and 2nd, the Devils will want to gather up as many picks as possible to retool.

St Louis

  • Devils Get Vince Dunn, Ivan Barbeshev, Klim Kostin, 2020 1st
  • Blues Get Taylor Hall, 2022 2nd

*Devils retain 25 percent of Hall’s salary

Why it makes sense for the Blues: Repeating is obviously very difficult in the NHL, but the Blues feel like they have the team to do it. The Blues are stacked on the backend and although I think Dunn is going to be a very good player in the NHL, at the moment he is expendable. The Blues have been involved in many tight, 1 goal games to start the year and goal scoring has been an issue. With their best scorer in Tarasenko out until at least the playoffs, adding Hall would give them the game-breaker they are lacking. Losing Kostin would be a tough pill to swallow, but in Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou, the Blues have other good young forwards to replace him with. 

Dunn has had a strong 19-20 campaign

Why it makes sense for the Devils: Again, the Devils are not strong defensively and getting a player like Dunn who is still just 23 would be a very smart addition to a young core that includes Will Butcher and Damon Severson. Dunn is an elite skater and has 60 point potential, he has improved defensively and if he can keep that up he will be at the very least a surefire top 4 D-man. Dunn’s analytics have been incredible to start the year and it is clear he is evolving into something special. As for Barbeshev, he has 14 points in 30 games to start the year and is only 24. In a bigger role, he could be a very useful player for the Devils. Kostin is a very exciting young prospect. The last pick of the 1st round in 2017, Kostin has 8 points in 15 games in the AHL this season and is a dynamic, strong winger.

Dallas

  • Devils Get Ty Dellenadrea, Julius Honka, 2020 1st, Alex Radulov
  • Stars Get Taylor Hall, Sami Vatanen

Why this trade makes sense for the Stars: If there is one thing the Stars lack it is speed and Hall brings that in abundance. A team that came to a goal away from the WCF last year could use Hall’s ability to break games open. A line of Taylor and Tyler (Hall and Seguin) would be awesome to see and would give the Stars one of the deadliest top 6’s in the league. Vatanen could also round out their top 4 on the backend of Miro Heiskanen, John Klingberg and Esa Lindell. Getting rid of Radulov’s contract would also be very helpful to the Stars. The Russian has 3 years left at just over 6 million a year and was a healthy scratch this week.

Remember Taylor VS Tyler back in their 2009 draft year?

Why it makes sense for the Devils: Again the emphasis on improving their defence core is what I am looking at here. Julius Honka’s situation is an unusual one. Honka was drafted 14th overall by the Stars back in 2014 then went on to have 3 very good years in the AHL with stints in the NHL mixed in. He burned all 3 of his ELC years playing under 100 games in the NHL in total and is now an RFA who has refused to sign with Dallas and has requested a trade. Dallas didn’t get a deal done before the December 1st deadline so now Honka has to sit out all of 2019-2020 (Well, not really, he is playing in Finland but he can’t play in the NHL). Regardless of all of this, I think the Devils should take a chance on Honka. He has proven he can be a very good player at the AHL level, is still only 24 and has incredible potential. As for Dellandrea, he is a big, two-way centre who the Stars drafted 13th overall in 2018. Dellandrea has 30 points in 25 games for Flint this year in the OHL and is the Stars’ highest-rated prospect. Eating Radulov’s contract wouldn’t be ideal, but getting rid of Vatanen’s long term deal balances that out and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Radulov go back to Russia soon anyway.

Colorado

  • Devils get Connor Timmins, Tyson Jost  2020 1st, 2021 1st if Hall re-signs and Avs make the Cup Final
  • Avs Get Taylor Hall, 2020 3rd

Why it makes sense for the Avs: It instantly makes them the Cup favourites if they weren’t already. Imagine a line of Mackinnon-Hall-Burakovsky with Rantanen-Kadri-Burakovsky behind it. No team in the league matches the Avs depth. Giving up Timmins would suck, but he isn’t even your best D prospect, you still have Bowen Byram! Not to mention the 2 young studs in Cale Makar and Sam Girard who are going to be two of the best D-men in the league for a long time. They also have the cap to re-sign Hall, this doesn’t just have to be a rental. The Avs have stayed the course for a couple of years and been patient, but now is the time to make a big push. You have the assets, you have the depth, you have the star power, go for it.

Just imagine Nate and Hall together, IMAGINE IT.

Why it makes sense for the Devils: The Devils are getting the classic high-end rental return here. Elite prospect, which Timmins is, a young promising NHL player in Jost, a 1st rounder and another conditional 1st. It has been reported that the Devils want Byram in any return they get for Hall, but that is not going to happen. Byram is a top 5 prospect in the NHL and there is no way the Avs give that up with the trajectory they are on. Timmins is no slouch in his own right. A 2nd round pick in 2017, Timmins is a right-handed shot (RARE) who is very strong in his own end and can put up points too. In a season that was cut in half by a concussion, Timmins put up 41 points in 36 games with Sault in 18-19 and was Canada’s best D-man at the World Juniors. He has started 19-20 strong with 13 points in 19 games for the Avs AHL squad and could see NHL action as soon as this season. Jost is an interesting player, the 10th overall pick in 2016 has 58 points in 166 career NHL games mostly deployed as a 3rd line winger. He has started the season okay with 9 points in 25 games and has decent advanced numbers, but I still want to see more from him. The Devils could be the team in a situation to do that. He could play in the top 6 and get good minutes and opportunities. Jost is very highly skilled and a change of scenery may be just what he needs.

Calgary

  • Devils Get Rasmus Andersson, Michael Frolik,  2020 1st, 2021 1st IF Hall re-signs
  • Flames Get Taylor Hall

Why it makes sense for the Flames: The Flames’ main issue last season was their lack of depth. Come playoff time, the only people scoring were Gaudreau, Tkachuk, Monahan and Lindholm and that just isn’t going to work. Hall gives them much-needed depth and allows them to run two all-star lines. Elliotte Freidman also reported the other day that the Flames would be very interested in re-signing Hall if they could so they would only do this trade if they knew Hall would be there long term. Getting rid of Frolik’s contract would need to happen to make the money work, but he only has a year left anyway.

Why it makes sense for the Devils: Look, if I am the Flames GM, I would never give up Rasmus Andersson. He has been the Flames best defencemen this season, has great analytical numbers, is only 23 and SHOOTS RIGHT! But if I am the Devils, he is where the conversation for Hall starts and ends. He has been unlucky, based on the numbers, to not put up more than 9 points in 30 games and his upside is through the roof. He is an RFA at the end of this season so the Devils could lock him up long term right away as well. The 1st could also end up being pretty high depending on how the Flames would finish the season and in a very good draft year, the Devils could add another exciting prospect to their mix.

Montreal

  • Devils Get Ryan Poehling, Josh Brook, 2020 1st
  • Habs Get Taylor Hall

Why the trade makes sense for the Habs: GM Marc Bergevin has to do something to save his job and acquiring Taylor Hall can do that. The Habs have lost 9 of their past 10 and among many of their issues is scoring goals. Giving up the future is not Bergevin’s concern as of right now because he might not be there much longer. If the Habs want to make the playoffs, they need to do something big and Hall fits that billing. They also have a ton of cap space so re-signing him would not be difficult as long as he is willing to commit.

Why it makes sense for the Devils: They get two high-end prospects, a forward in Poehling and a D-man in Brook and a 1st rounder that honestly, could end up in the lottery. Poehling is an extremely exciting prospect. The 25th overall pick in 2017 scored a hattrick in his NHL debut in game 82 against the Leafs last season and won the MVP at the WJC just a few months earlier. Poehling, a centre, has a wicked release and an NHL level shot already at just 20 and could develop into a very strong two-way player. He has 5 goals and 10 points in 23 games for the AHL Laval Rockets to start this season. Brook is an explosive, offensive defenceman. The 2nd round pick in 2017 had 75 points in 59 games for Moose Jaw of the WHL last season and is now in his first pro season with Laval. He has been going through the ups and downs of a young defencemen’s first season in pro hockey, but projects to be in the NHL sometime next season. 

Toronto

  • Devils Get Cody Ceci, Andreas Johnsson, Timothy Lilegren, 2021 1st
  • Leafs Get Taylor Hall

Why the trade makes sense for the Leafs: Look, this is very unlikely to happen and I only put the Leafs here because I thought it would be fun. But, if the Leafs were to acquire Hall, I mean it would be unfair to the rest of the league. Imagine the first line of Hall-Matthews-Nylander with Marner and Tavares coming up behind them, just ridiculous. They also get rid of Ceci who has been disappointing to say the least to start the year and save some cap space due to Johnsson’s 3.2 million cap hit. There is no way the Leafs would be able to re-sign Hall, but if they did get him they would instantly be up there with Boston as favourites in the East. Oh, and it would be really fun.

Why the trade makes sense for the Devils: They get a very good young D prospect in Lilegren who shoots right, a young proven 40 point-getter in Johnsson and a 1st. Ceci can eat some minutes and his contract expires in the summer anyway. It certainly isn’t the best deal on the list, but it does make a lot of sense if it is the one they choose.

All potential trades here are just speculation, but it is a fun game to play anyway. There is no doubt Hall will bring a haul (NO PUN INTENDED) in return for the Devils, it all depends on what route they want to go down. When someone of Hall’s level is on the trade market, the whole NHL is put on notice. It should be fun.