“Trade him to Edmonton,” Tim Micallef of Tim & Sid joked as Elliotte Friedman described the ongoing issues between the New Jersey Devils and Taylor Hall.
What Tim didn’t realize, as he sarcastically uttered the words then followed them with a chuckle, was that the Edmonton Oilers and Taylor Hall reuniting might be an actual possibility, at least according to Friedman who was more than happy to clarify a report he first noted in his recent 31 Thoughts article.
Friedman surprised both hosts when he said, “It would not surprise me at all if Edmonton was a big suitor here.” He added, “I don’t know if they can make a trade, I don’t know if they have enough to make a deal, but it just wouldn’t surprise me…”
Where is Friedman’s Opinion Coming From?
As the hosts were eager to learn more, Friedman went into detail suggesting the Oilers have long-wanted to right a wrong and if there was a chance to bring him back, they would. That wrong was trading away Hall in a deal that most fans saw as a completely bone-headed move — despite the usefulness of Adam Larsson who has been unfairly saddled with the burden of being the player acquired for Hall in a one-for-one deal. It was a deal Larsson could likely never live up to.
Hall went on to become a bigger star than he already was, while Larsson has been useful, but not nearly the answer on the blue line the Oilers were looking for when they made the deal.
But, Friedman did admit, “but there’s a new GM there now, so we’ll see.” In other words, he had no concrete evidence that new Oilers GM Ken Holland was kicking tires and even considering making a move to get Hall back.
And, should he be, fans are likely never going to hear that information from Holland’s mouth.
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Would the Oilers Really Be Interested?
Obviously, any team would love to add the scoring ability and offensive talents offered by Hall. A league MVP and arguably the best left-winger in the NHL, why wouldn’t Edmonton be interested? The quick answer is that his services won’t come cheap.
If the Devils realize they can’t sign Hall to an extension, Friedman is suggesting they’ll look to move him. Anything the Devils will ask for in trade, the Oilers won’t be keen to move, especially if the team is playing well. And, it’s not as if the Devils will trade Hall back for Larsson straight up. That trade will never happen twice in one lifetime.
Should another team acquire Hall in trade and then the former Oilers forward tests free agency, the Oilers have to expect Hall’s salary to start at no less than $10 million per season over a long-term deal. That’s not exactly a number the Oilers will fit into their team makeup without shuffling things around.
And, while the season is early, the winning record suggests the Oilers won’t be shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. This is a team that looks and feels, so far, like a playoff team.
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Would Hall Want to Come Back?
One of the most shocking parts of the segment with Tim and Sid was the hosts reaction to the idea that Hall would even consider a return considering how bent out of shape he was when he was initially traded. All Friedman could offer was “time heals all wounds.”
And, if the old adage is true, Hall is reported to be uncertain about his future with New Jersey based on their ability to be competitive. A slow start is why people are already asking questions. If Edmonton continues to win, the Oilers have to look more and more attractive to a player, who while upset about being traded, was really only upset because he never actually wanted to leave.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”