NHL Rumor Shootdown: Hall To Oilers Not Likely

There’s been a lot of speculation of late when it comes to Taylor Hall and his future with the New Jersey Devils. Some believe it’s a matter of time, if the Devils don’t go on a winning streak, before Hall decides he’ll decline an extension and test free agency. And, as a result of that decision, the Devils will trade him.

If that all comes to pass, the interesting trade destination that keeps coming up is in Edmonton and with the Edmonton Oilers. Elliotte Friedman got the buzz started when he suggested he could see the Oilers being a major suitor and attempt to reunite with Hall. After Friedman dropped that bomb, I dug deep into those comments and tried to imagine what that might look like.

Related: NHL Insider Says Oilers Interested in Taylor Hall

A couple of days later, Kurt Leavins of The Edmonton Journal said that his sources claimed that any sour feelings Hall might have since being traded by the Oilers are all-but gone. Leavins contends that the Oilers have a real shot based on Hall’s close inner circle of influencers being close to the Oilers and those who were responsible for the trade are now out of Edmonton.

Leavins wrote:

I use the term “the Hall Camp” (by the way) because the group that will influence Taylor Hall’s future should be defined more broadly than just the player and his agent, Darren Ferris (who, incidentally, also represents Philip Broberg). Hall’s circle of most-trusted advisers is a little bigger than that.

Source – As the 7-and-1 Edmonton Oilers rocket out of the gate, we gaze deeper into a Taylor-made future: 9 Things – Kurt Leavins – The Edmonton Journal – 10/20/2019

As much as I respect Leavins, it’s this part of the Hall-to-Edmonton rumor I take issue with. Wouldn’t it be great if things were that simple.

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Don’t Assume Hall Has Forgotten

Imagine going through all the growing pains Hall went through in Edmonton, only to be traded when the getting was good. That’s exactly why Hall was so emotional when speaking to media about his exit from the franchise. Like the really loyal boyfriend being dumped by the pretty girl who found a guy with more “to offer”, Hall wasn’t the long-term play or “captain material”, or so they suggested. He was essentially dumped for the shiny new toy in Connor McDavid.

Hall said back in 2016:

“I think I just voiced my disappointment in what had happened. I’m a proud person and I do take this as an indictment on me as a hockey player — I don’t think there’s any other way to treat it.”

source – ‘Taylor Hall unhappy with Edmonton Oilers trading him to New Jersey Devils’ –
Robert Tychkowski – Edmonton Sun – 06/29/2016

Once considered the key piece of a dynamic trio that would lead the Oilers to the promise land, Hall became old news when a generational talent was gifted to the Oilers with a lottery win.

Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle
Eric Gryba will have the pleasure of joining an up and coming Oilers team with the addition of Cam Talbot and Connor McDavid. (Dustin Bradford/Icon SMI)

Ironically, McDavid and Hall were actually close friends, yet rumors swirled that there wasn’t enough room for both he and McDavid in the locker room and that Hall wasn’t a qualified leader who could get the Oilers to the next level. He was then traded for pennies on the dollar and the organization claimed “that was the price you pay” to land a top-two defenseman. All the while, Hall was well aware he was worth more than Adam Larsson straight up.

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Hall Will Have Choices

Forget for a minute that Edmonton would have to figure out how to work whatever salary Hall will command into their overall team cap, why would Hall not choose someone else first?

Taylor Hall New Jersey Devils
Taylor Hall, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Just because the option in Edmonton exists, what makes people so certain he wouldn’t prefer a more comfortable destination? Maybe enough time has passed since the trade that Hall can call it water under the bridge (that’s a big maybe), or maybe he’s just saying the right things to not sound bitter, but he’s the biggest fish in next year’s crop of free agents. The NHL world is his oyster.

Leavins notes that Hall enjoyed the Canadian market but you know what else is fun? Winning and paying less taxes. And yes, a team that has a better chance to win and can ensure Hall keeps more money at the end of the day will come calling. They always do.

Don’t Get Your Hopes Up Oilers Fans

Taylor Hall to Edmonton is a nice story that would be neatly wrapped with a ribbon if it ever happens. It probably won’t.

There may be things working that make it possible, but there are far more things working against that deal, making it unlikely at best. Not to mention, there’s no telling if new GM Ken Holland is even interested.

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