It’s been more than a week since reports emerged claiming the New Jersey Devils were listening to trade offers for Taylor Hall. The 28-year-old winger remains the talk of the NHL rumor mill.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said last Wednesday trade discussions had intensified but that didn’t mean they were close to happening. On Saturday, however, Chris Johnston said the Colorado Avalanche were pushing to get Hall, perhaps before the Dec. 19 holiday trade freeze.
The Avalanche are considered the front-runners for Hall’s services, but GM Joe Sakic doesn’t sound like he’s rushing into anything. In a recent interview with TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, Sakic indicated he’d like to take some time to evaluate his banged-up roster once it’s healthy. Wingers Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog recently returned to action, but goaltender Philipp Grubauer, defensemen Erik Johnson and Cale Makar and forwards Nazem Kadri, Andre Burakovsky and Colin Wilson remain sidelined.
LeBrun’s colleague Darren Dreger reported the Arizona Coyotes are among the clubs “definitely interested” in Hall. He said they aren’t concerned about the asking price. The Athletic’s Craig Morgan cited sources confirming the Coyotes’ interest, but he doubts they’re a “top-of-the-list” suitor.
The Coyotes have plenty of promising young players to draw upon as trade bait. Acquiring Hall, however, could mean some creative accounting by both clubs. The Coyotes only have around $2.6 million in salary-cap space. They’ll have to ship out a salaried player and perhaps convince the Devils to pick up part of Hall’s $6-million salary-cap hit to make it work. Former Coyotes captain Shane Doan last week told an Arizona radio station they should only go after Hall if he’s willing to re-sign. Doan isn’t a spokesman for Coyotes GM John Chayka, but both men could share that opinion.
The Devils’ asking price for Hall is also a topic for conjecture. Johnston said teams believe it might take four pieces to acquire the former Hart Trophy winner. TSN’s Bob McKenzie, however, said Devils GM Ray Shero hasn’t yet set any parameters and is asking clubs to make their best offer, be it a package deal or one-for-one swap.
MORE DEALS WITH THE DEVILS
Hall isn’t the only Devil potentially available. Friedman reported Miles Wood is on the trade block. He pointed out the 24-year-old winger has two years left on his contract with an affordable $2.75 million salary-cap hit.
Sami Vatanen could also draw some interest in the trade market. The Las Vegas Sun’s Justin Emerson believes the 28-year-old right-shot defenseman could address the Golden Knights’ need for experienced top-four depth. Like Hall, Vatanen will become an unrestricted free agent in July. Shero could start fielding calls for him as the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaches.
GALCHENYUK ON THE MOVE AGAIN?
Less than six months after being acquired by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Alex Galchenyuk is once again surfacing in the rumor mill. The Athletic’s Josh Yohe reported Penguins GM Jim Rutherford suggested the 25-year-old winger could be the odd man out once Pittsburgh’s injured forwards return to action.
Galchenyuk was sent to the Penguins in June as part of the return for Phil Kessel. Expected to fill a top-six role, Galchenyuk missed the first nine games of the season with a lower-body injury. In recent games, he’s been seeing fourth-line duty.
A former 30-goal scorer with the Montreal Canadiens in 2015-16, Galchenyuk’s inconsistency resulted in the Habs shipping him to the Coyotes for Max Domi in June 2018. He netted a respectable 41 points last season in Arizona, but the Coyotes had no qualms packaging him to Pittsburgh for Kessel.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes the Buffalo Sabres looked into acquiring Galchenyuk. They’re in the market for a scoring winger, but could be reluctant to gamble on his erratic play.
Canadiens eyeing Martinez, Gostisbehere?
The Canadiens recently emerged from an eight-game winless skid and have picked up three victories in their past four contests. Nevertheless, concerns over their lack of depth on the left side of their blueline has kept them in the rumor mill.
Elliotte Friedman reported the Canadiens “took a long look” at Los Angeles Kings rearguard Alec Martinez prior to his wrist surgery on Nov. 26. He’s listed as week-to-week and the Kings aren’t sure when he’ll return to action.
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere’s been frequently linked to the Habs this season. He’s struggled to adjust under new coach Alain Vigneault and was a recent healthy scratch. Martin McGuire of Montreal’s 98.5 FM recently claimed the two clubs were in late-stage trade discussions involving ‘Ghost Bear,’ but Friedman said those rumors were denied.
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