New Jersey Devils star Taylor Hall has been the subject of trade rumors all month, and the pursuit for the 28-year-old forward is only heating up.
On Saturday’s “Hockey Night in Canada,” Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston said the Devils are “encouraging other teams to step forward with offers” for Hall — and the Colorado Avalanche have emerged as favorites to acquire his services.
“[There is] not so much of a back-and-forth [yet],” Johnston said. “The feeling in the industry is that the Colorado Avalanche are the favorites right now, pushing to get Taylor Hall perhaps as soon as the Christmas break.”
Hall’s contract — worth $6 million AAV — ends after this season, which typically might bring down a player’s trade value. Johnston, however, said some NHL clubs think it may take as many as four pieces to pry the UFA-to-be away from New Jersey, which originally acquired Hall in 2016 in a one-for-one trade with the Edmonton Oilers, sending defenseman Adam Larsson the other way.
According to CapFriendly, the Avalanche have about $5.958 million in salary cap space, meaning they could acquire Hall without fighting too hard a logistical battle to remain cap compliant. Colorado also currently owns six picks in the 2020 NHL Draft — as well as their first and second-round picks in 2021 and 2022 — to play with in order to sweeten a potential deal.
Colorado sits in second place within the Central Division after a 4-1 victory over Boston Bruins on Dec. 7, in which they became the first team to win in Boston in regulation this season. Adding Hall to the Avalanche’s roster before December ends would drastically strengthen one of the league’s highest-scoring offenses already.
The NHL does not have any games scheduled this season between Tuesday, Dec. 24 and Thursday, Dec. 26, during its Christmas break. The league’s roster freeze goes into effect between 11:59 p.m. local time Dec. 19 through 12:01 a.m. local time on Dec. 28, during which players cannot be traded.
Both Hall and Devils general manager Ray Shero have said that the Calgary, Alta., native has not asked New Jersey to trade him. Hall has six goals and 19 assists in 29 games this season — on pace to reach 70 points or more for the third time in his career.