Carolina Hurricanes: The Case for Acquiring Taylor Hall

The winners of the 2019 Draft Lottery seem to have a stormcloud looming in the distance, as Taylor Hall seems to be uncertain about extending his contract with the New Jersey Devils. Cue Don Waddell.

Like I said before, it is rumor mill season. No one is safe, not even the most prolific of goal-scorers. Today’s rumor, however, does have a bit of weight to it. The Carolina Hurricanes come up often as Waddell is very active.

Taylor Hall is not extremely keen on signing a contract extension with the New Jersey Devils as he enters the final year of his 7-year, $42M contract. Perhaps Waddell should take a look at a package for the first rounder.

This leaves New Jersey in a bit of an odd spot. With projected first-overall pick Jack Hughes destined to become a Devil, New Jersey has options when it comes to building an offensive core. If Hughes is NHL-ready, I could see them having him center Hall; the two would no doubt bring out the best in each other offensively.

That being said, does Taylor Hall wait around in New Jersey for Hughes to develop and the rebuild to begin? Or does he walk right into free agency at the end of the 2019-20 season? If I am Ray Shero (Devils’ GM), I have options.

I can trade this offensively gifted, relatively young forward for various pieces that will contribute to the rebuild for years to come, or I could convince him to hang around and be a direct part of it. Or, the least attractive option, which would be to let Hall walk after next season if I can’t sign him.

This would be a huge price to pay just for an additional year of contention that may or may not end up with Stanley Cup contention. With as many variables and unknowns surrounding the situation, the solution that makes the most sense would be to trade him.

This is where Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell comes in. I highly doubt he’ll be able to pull off another trade similar to his wizardry with Minnesota, but I believe we could send a solid offer New Jersey’s way. The case for acquiring Taylor Hall is a tricky one, but here goes.

This situation is a bit precarious, and would risk upsetting the chemistry that Dundon, Waddell, Brind’amour, and the core players on the Hurricanes roster worked to develop and implement last season. That being said, if we were to trade for someone like Taylor Hall, I’d feel comfortable letting a few offensive prospects go to New Jersey. Aleksi Saarela and/or Julien Gauthier come to mind.

These two were instrumental in the Charlotte Checkers recent Calder Cup Championship victory, and would be incredible assets to have if they continue to be developed properly. Both of these forwards are NHL-ready in my opinion, and would make for a solid contribution, especially if they’re paired with Jack Hughes early on.

A trade that makes sense to me would be Saarela/Gauthier, a 2nd Round pick from Carolina, and a 3rd Round pick from Carolina in return for Taylor Hall. Hall only played 33 games this past season, but scored 11 goals and 26 assists for a combined 37 points in this campaign.

In 2017-28, he had 93 points in 76 games played. Of those 93 points, 37 were on the powerplay. The Hurricanes struggled all season, and well into the postseason, on the powerplay.

I would hate to see Saarela or Gauthier go, but if it means being even more competitive and fixing the main thing that cut their postseason journey short, so be it. Taylor Hall would be a tremendous asset for the Carolina Hurricanes, and he seems to be getting restless in New Jersey. Let’s give him a look, eh, Waddell?

Question for CC Readers: Do you think Taylor Hall would be worth going after? What would you send to New Jersey to bring him aboard?