Arguably the “biggest fish” of this years UFA crop is Taylor Hall. At 28, the former Hart (League MVP) Trophy winner is right in his prime and will be looking for a massive payday. With 627 regular-season games to his name, he has shown that he is a top guy when it comes to offensive production.
Amassing 208 points in 211 games with the New Jersey Devils over the past couple of seasons, he sat atop the trade bait list heading into this past trade deadline.
Back in December, the Arizona Coyotes were comfortably in a playoff position in the Pacific Division and serious contenders for the division title. In a somewhat surprising move, they opted to pull the trigger on a blockbuster move that made Hall a Yote. Since then, Hall has scored a respectable 27 points in 35 games while the Coyotes as a whole have fallen out of a playoff position.
Unfortunately for him, he has only appeared in the postseason once with New Jersey back in 2018, the year he also won the Hart. In what was his best season statically, 93 points in 76 games, his play single-handedly was the only reason for the Devils playoff appearance.
Aside from that season, he has spent his career on mediocre/rebuilding teams. That fact that he still almost averages a point per game over his 10-year career is impressive, to say the least. The talent is certainly there but there are some rumors circulating that he may be somewhat of an issue in the locker room.
Before the big trade, the Devils had a record of 10-17-5, producing at a 64 point pace. Since the move, they sit at an 18-11-7 record or a 98 point pace. On the flip side, the Coyotes were on a 98 point pace before the trade, with a record of 19-12-4 and have since only produced at a 77 point pace with a 14-16-4 record.
Although hockey is a team game and there are several contributing factors to this, goaltending injuries among them, this has been some somewhat concerning when you look at his history. Whether it’s the Devils or Oilers, the teams he has been on win the draft lottery seemingly every year instead of making the postseason. You can’t help but wonder if there’s some kind of correlation here.
For someone as skilled as Hall, you’d think any team would love to have him in their lineup. Before the halt in play, it was reported that the Coyotes and Hall were discussing a possible extension. It doesn’t matter if he hits the open market or not, at the end of the day, he’s going to be in for a massive payday. Should he become a UFA, it’s highly unlikely he will sign with Carolina.