“I have not asked for a trade,” Hall said.
Hall also said he would continue to direct any questions regarding his contract negotiations to Devils GM Ray Shero and his agent, Darren Ferris. He is in the final year of his current deal before being eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2020.
Shero didn’t deny or confirm the idea of listening to trade offers for Hall in a report from The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, but Shero confirmed Hall has never asked for a trade, and he still views Hall as engaged and focused on his play in New Jersey.
And for Hall, the rest of the players and the coaching staff, the idea of a possible trade won’t affect their day-to-day operations.
“Those are things that are not controlled. They aren’t controlled by Taylor. They aren’t controlled by the coach. They aren’t controlled by any of the other players in there,” Devils coach John Hynes said. “I think we always do a good job of, whether it is a topic like that or other things, it’s not in the room. Our focus is always on what is controllable. Taylor doesn’t have any control over that, whether it is Ray or his agent or the media that says something that is true or not true. He’s just gotta come play. As a coach, he’s on your team and you coach him.”
But as Hall remains unsigned to an extension and the season inches closer to February’s trade deadline, the idea of moving Hall could become more realistic for the Devils, especially if they continue spinning their tires near the bottom of the standings.
And as valuable as Hall is for the Devils’ roster — remember, star players don’t grow on trees — they still have other areas on the roster that need improvement. So if the Devils get to the point where a return on Hall would be too good to pass up, it could happen. And plenty of teams would be happy to add his services.
Scoring depth is always a valuable commodity for teams looking to add pieces during the season for a playoff push, and Hall would qualify as much more than depth. He’d represent a top-line winger capable of bolstering even the best top six of any team.
And as past trades have shown, teams are willing to part with first-round picks or top prospects prior to the trade deadline, and they have done so for players not of Hall’s caliber.
The Colorado Avalanche have a dynamic top line already, but could use another strong scorer to round out their top two lines. They also have the prospects, picks and cap space to make a trade happen. And according to ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski, the Devils have been closely monitoring the Avs’ system.
Other logical teams that could make sense include the Calgary Flames, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Islanders and, ironically, the Edmonton Oilers. There are likely many other teams that would be interested, because Hall would serve as an upgrade for just about every team in the league.
Again, this is all still speculation at this point. Hall has time and time again expressed his happiness playing in New Jersey. He just wants to win. The Devils could turn things around and show signs of contention in the near future, even if that doesn’t happen this season.
If the trade deadline passes and Hall is still in New Jersey without a contract, the Devils will run the risk of losing him in free agency for nothing in return. But as long as Shero still believes there’s a chance Hall will re-sign, that option will remain on the table.
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