When Taylor Hall signed for the Sabres last offseason it raised eyebrows. Sabres fans believed a new revolution was here. This surely was the team’s statement of intent to bring King Jack his first cup. However, to most fans outside of Buffalo, this deal seemed bizarre. Hall’s prior trade to Arizona was an expensive rental, but this deal seemed too good to be true. Sadly, it appears that Sabres fans will be once again left in despair as it appears a messy divorce is looming.
Since arriving, Hall has gotten 11 points, but the Sabres have been a mess. Dead last yet again basically nothing has changed. Hall looks apathetic each time he hits the ice and clearly is one move he will live to regret. Buffalo has confirmed this week that they are open to trade talks, the only question is who will snag him before the deadline?
Alex, Brodie, Joe and Mike will discuss which teams should land Hall and what they will have to give up. Sorry Buffalo fans…
Alex: Colorado Avalanche
This move is sure to be much approved by the great Carl. Colorado is a team that has been knocking on the door for a couple of seasons. They have an already stacked roster in Nathan Mackinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Nazem Kadri, Bowen Byram and Cale Makar. As far getting his name on the cup goes, this is definitely Hall’s best shot. The Avs have the cap space to make it work having put Erik Johnson and Pavel Francouz on LTIR. Also, they have first and third-round picks over the next three drafts to sweeten the deal.
Previously one of the favourites to land him, this could work as a long-term deal for Colorado. They have a number of UFA’s coming up in the summer and if this season goes well then they have a priority signing. Hall might not be having a career season but he would easily fit into their top line and give a boost to Mackinnon. The most enticing aspect is that Colorado is championship ready and not rebuilding. Out of all the potential teams, Hall could well be the player who makes the difference in Denver.
Brodie: Carolina Hurricanes
For the last few seasons, the Carolina Hurricanes have been a trendy sleeper pick to make a Stanley Cup run. While many (understandably) question their goaltending, they have a talented young forward group, and one of the best blue lines in the league. They’re well coach and with some playoff experience the last few years, they again look poised to make some noise in the post season. However, as with any legitimate Cup threat, adding some offensive punch would help their cause. Enter: Taylor Hall. The Canes are by no means a lacklustre offensive group (with 99 goals on the season they’re top 10 in the NHL) and generally do it by committee, but adding another proven scorer (well, at least until this season) couldn’t hurt. They already boast the leagues best power play, so adding another weapon, even if it was to the second unit, could be a key piece for coach Rod Brind’Amour and company.
Buffalo is going to have to rebuild, and it would be a Miracle On Ice level shock if Hall stayed, so they (desperately) need to get a reasonable package in return and the Canes could offer up several picks and prospects to accommodate. Now, many may question the impact Hall could have, as he hasn’t exactly lit it up this season. But I’m not sure Buffalo’s even turned the lights on…(Yet) Another fresh start could do him good, and with some solid top six talent around him in Raleigh, he could help push Carolina to that next level in the very competitive Central as if you want to beat the likes of Tampa and Florida, you’re going to need to finish your opportunities. Hall wants (or has at least publicly stated) his desire to win, and win now, so here’s your chance. And a solid playoff run would do wonders for his upcoming free agency value, which at this point is colder than the Sabres offence.
Joe: Boston Bruins
I will let the chorus of boos quiet down… Okay folks, let me see if this sounds familiar, “the Boston Bruins will trade for the top available free agent winger at the deadline”. If this does sound familiar there may be a reason: Nick Ritchie in 2020, Ondrej Kase in 2020, Marcus Johansson in 2019, Charlie Coyle in 2019… the list goes on and on, but my reasoning is not just from history, this year it is from need. The Bruins currently sit in 4th place in the East Division 3 points ahead (at the time of writing) of the Philadelphia Flyers with one game in hand. With no wildcards this year and Boston knowing that with this being a year where they can avoid Tampa and Toronto in the first two rounds a splash like Taylor Hall could inject much-needed life into a team just hanging on.
Mike: Anywhere But Detroit
I don’t care where Taylor Hall goes, as long as it isn’t Detroit. He’s a great player, but Detroit has a lot of contracts that are up at the end of the season, and likely won’t have much cap space to play around with.
Which team do you think Hall should be traded to? If at all? Comment below or join in the conversation on twitter!