A week ago, New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero was quite clear about his team's chances to move star forward Taylor Hall: zero chance. Shero was recently asked about how much he considered dealing the reigning MVP and the answer was quite clear.
"Less than fucking zero," he told The Athletic's Craig Custance at the GM meetings in Florida last week. "Zero percent. Someone (in the media) asked me that two weeks before the deadline. Zero chance. Zero. Just to make it clear."
But, will it chance once the Devils head into the postseason? Larry Brooks of the New York Post believes Shero will have no choice but to trade Taylor Hall if the left winger doesn’t commit to a new contract by the draft weekend (June 21-22). And this will surely get any NHL fan going...
Hall has one season left on his current contract and becomes eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July. Brooks has a way of getting under people's skin and with his latest article, he does so by comparing the Hall situation to the one the New York Islanders experienced last summer with their captain John Tavares.
Brooks ends his article with the line, “Isn’t that right, Scott Malkin?”, referencing one of the co-owners of the Islanders, who saw their franchise player sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs last summer. In other words, Brooks feels the Devils will want to avoid the same scenario with Hall or look to trade him if the star forward prefers to play the last year of his deal and test free agency in 2020.
Like some fans might not be thrilled to know that many rumours will come our way about Hall, we can expect speculation over Hall’s future in New Jersey to increase once the playoffs end in early-June and teams become more active in the trade market after the postseason.
Hall recently underwent knee surgery and hasn't suited up since Dec. 27. Before the injury, he posted 37 points in 33 games, which still places him fourth on the team.
The Devils are undoubtedly hoping to sign Hall to a lucrative long-term extension and keeping the star player in the fold, but it could come down to Hall himself. The talented forward might be unhappy with the direction the club is heading and could seek more attention on the free-agent market, which would push the Devils to make a move, potentially as early as this summer...