When it comes to the cost of acquiring left-winger Taylor Hall from the New Jersey Devils, according to NHL insider Elliotte Friedman:
The Devils have made it clear they want first-rounders (although they are willing to discuss conditional situations, depending on the acquiring team’s ability to re-sign Hall or playoff results) and/or high-level prospects who are ready to play.
When it comes to the Edmonton Oilers chances of being involved, Friedman added, “I do think Edmonton’s interested, but there’s a limit. I’m not convinced the Oilers will pay what New Jersey wants.”
The first ask (the first-round pick) likely takes the Oilers out of the Hall conversation. Holland has made it clear he’s willing to, but not keen on moving Edmonton’s to choice in the upcoming draft, mainly because he sees how valuable those picks can be, especially if a lottery ball bounces your way.
The second ask might be doable. That said, the Oilers would have to find the right combination of prospects and players the Devils deem worthy.
Who Are the Oilers Up Against?
Friedman and other NHL media have noted that there are at least six-or-more teams sniffing around the Hall situation. One GM told Friedman Ray Shero was “trying” in terms of moving Hall and getting the best return, but some of the candidates to acquire the most coveted player at this year’s NHL Trade Deadline are more realistic than others.
Take for example the Colorado Avalanche. This is a team that has a realistic shot at landing Hall. They have the defensive prospects to move, they have a competitive team that could make a playoff run with Hall on the roster, and they have cap space for this season. As a long-term fit? That’s harder to predict.
The Montreal Canadiens might be another, but different. GM Marc Bergevin is apparently itchy to make a move. That said, acquiring Hall if he’s not extended makes little to no sense because the Canadiens are anything but a lock to make the playoffs this season. Still, they could make a strong pitch if Hall hints he’s willing to stick around.
Most of the other teams rumored would need to clear space to fit Hall in this season.
So where does that leave the Oilers?
What the Oilers Would Be Willing to Give
Knowing the Oilers don’t really have the cap space needed without making other moves and that they aren’t willing to give up a first-round draft pick for a rental, what possible package could the Oilers put together?
Let’s remove certain names from the equation.
In my opinion, Evan Bouchard, Ethan Bear (probably no longer considered a prospect) and Philip Broberg are untouchable. The Oilers are far too high on any and/or all of these players to consider moving them for Hall. This might be the case even if Hall agrees to sign an extension in Edmonton.
Next, don’t expect Edmonton to move any of the big names — among them, Connor McDavid and Leon Drasaitl, Oscar Klefbom or Darnell Nurse.
That leaves Caleb Jones, Tyler Benson, Kailer Yamamoto, Jesse Puljujarvi, Dmitri Samorukov and a few others as possible options. It then becomes a question about whether or not the Devils feel any of these players are better than what another team might offer in terms of prospects.
The Oilers could try to throw in a player like Kris Russell or Matt Benning but it’s unlikely the Devils play ball there.
Remember, Hall Is Likely a Rental
Unless Hall comes to the Oilers as they kick tires and says, “Hey, I’m in to sign an extension and I’ll do it at a number that works to keep good players,” Hall is likely only to be a considered a rental.
Perhaps that changes during the summer but a trade package shouldn’t be put together with the expectation the Oilers will have Hall under contract for the next 5-8 seasons.
Knowing that, it’s not all that surprising to hear Holland isn’t willing to give away the farm to acquire the former Oiler. That’s the smart and patient move of an experienced and savvy GM.
Now, if other teams can’t afford him or drop out of the race, maybe that’s a different conversation should the Devils wind up in a pinch.
Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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