Taylor Hall

Why Bruins were right to not go 'all in' on Taylor Hall trade

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Why Bruins were right to not go 'all in' on Taylor Hall trade

The trade has come down for Taylor Hall, and the Arizona Coyotes gave up a first-round pick, a conditional third-round pick (that could become a first if the Coyotes make the playoff and re-sign Hall), 6-foot-7 D-man prospect Kevin Bahl, 2015 first-round pick Nick Merkley and forward prospect Nate Schnarr to bring the former Hart Trophy winner to the desert.

It’s an understandable haul given up by Coyotes GM John Chayka, who needs to start seeing some results for the roster that he’s built up in Arizona.

He’s now spent assets to go get Phil Kessel and Hall as hired guns for this season to go with their young core group, and will gladly spend two first-round picks if that means the Coyotes A) get into the playoffs this spring and B) Hall likes Arizona so much that he ends up re-signing there.

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But for all the Bruins fans clamoring that the Black and Gold should have gone all in and dealt for Hall this week?

Well, not so much.

The Bruins would have been forced to give up a comparable package of 2017 first-round pick Urho Vaakanainen, 2015 first-round pick Zach Senyshyn and 2016 first-round pick Trent Frederic along with what could been an end cost of two first-round picks for a player with no guarantees of sticking around beyond this spring.

Certainly Hall would have immediately brought offensive legitimacy to the B’s second line and realistically could be energized by a move to a place like Boston after languishing in New Jersey for the last couple of seasons.

He's only two years removed from 39 goals and 93 points, and can still at 28 years old be dominant and game-breaking as a left winger on any top-6 across the NHL. But he’s also had difficulty staying healthy over the last few seasons and has essentially worn out his welcome in two spots now (Edmonton, New Jersey) after being a first overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft.

So is Hall worth that kind of haul?

To the Arizona Coyotes it’s wholly worth it to go all in, roll the ice and hope that Hall helps lead them back to legitimacy this spring. It’s also worth it to overpay and get the Devils to swallow half of his owed money so the Coyotes are only on the hook for a $3 million cap hit, which is something the Bruins would have absolutely had to do to make the deal as well.

For the Bruins, it’s wiser and more practical to pass on Hall, and wait on players like Ilya Kovalchuk, Tyler Toffoli, Josh Anderson and others who might become available ahead of the NHL trade deadline, or in the case of Kovalchuk much sooner than that.

Honestly, Hall isn’t even the best potential fit for the Black and Gold if they were looking to lift somebody from the Devils roster. That would be Kyle Palmieri, who's coming off four straight 20-goal seasons for the Devils with just a single season left on his contract for a Jersey team going nowhere.

Here's how Bruins benefit from Devils trading Taylor Hall to Coyotes

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USA TODAY Sports

Here's how Bruins benefit from Devils trading Taylor Hall to Coyotes

One of the biggest trade targets in the NHL is on the move.

The New Jersey Devils traded star left winger Taylor Hall to the Arizona Coyotes for a package that includes multiple players and draft picks.

So, how does this move impact the Boston Bruins? It's actually a positive development. Here are three reasons for that.

1. Hall is out of the Eastern Conference
The Bruins own the second-best record in the league and the Eastern Conference with 48 points (21-7-6) through 34 games. There was always a chance Hall could've been dealt to an East contender, and that would've made it tougher for the B's to win the Prince of Wales Trophy in back-to-back seasons. East teams currently in a playoff spot such as the Montreal Canadiens, Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders all need another top-six forward with a proven goal-scoring résumé. Even a few of the top Western Conference contenders, including the Colorado Avalanche and defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues made a lot of sense as potential landing spots for Hall. 

The Coyotes are having a tremendous season. They surprisingly lead the Pacific Division, and Hall fills a huge need for them. Arizona enters Monday ranked 24th in the league in goals scored per game, which is the lowest ranking of the four division leaders. The Coyotes deserve a lot of credit for their hot start, but it's still way too early to view them as a legit championship contender. This fact, combined with Hall not going to one of the Bruins' primary competitors in the East, is a positive development for Boston.

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2. B's could still take advantage of Devils' situation

The Devils might not be done selling, and given their last-place standing in the Metropolitan Division, a firesale wouldn't be a bad idea. Who else could the Devils move before the trade deadline?

One name to watch is defenseman Sami Vatanen. The 28-year-old veteran is in the final year of his contract with a manageable salary cap hit of $4,875,000. Vatanen is a smooth skater with good offensive skills and the ability to log 20-plus minutes each game. He also could feature on a contender's second power play unit.

Devils right winger Kyle Palmieri also is an intriguing trade target. He is signed through the 2020-21 season with a $4.65 million cap hit. Palmieri has tallied 20 points (12 goals, eight assists) in 32 games, and it wouldn't be surprising if he came close to or hit the 30-goal mark. 

Both of these players would not cost as much as Hall to acquire.

3. The Bruins were wise to hold on to their best trade assets
Finding a way to bring Hall to Boston would've been hard from cost (players/prospects and draft picks) and salary cap perspectives. He has a $6 million cap hit (although the Devils retained some salary in this trade), which isn't a small number for a Bruins team with less than $2 million in cap space, per CapFriendly.

The Bruins have some talented prospects, and given the Devils' need for young defensemen, 2017 first-round pick Urho Vaakanainen might've been a prime target for New Jersey. The B's have been pretty good at holding on to their first-round picks. They've made a first-round selection in five of the last six drafts, and the only time over that span when the Bruins traded a first-rounder for a deadline rental was in 2018 for New York Rangers forward Rick Nash. Nash wasn't able to play at a high level in the playoffs that season due to injury. Hall has his own injury history to be concerned over. He had arthroscopic knee surgery in February, which ended his 2018-19 season early. He also scored just six goals in 30 games for New Jersey this season.

Hall is eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer, so giving up a package of valuable trade assets with the possibility of him leaving in July would've been quite a risk for Boston. The Bruins are better off holding on to their best trade assets for a different player.

Haggerty: Why B's were right to not go 'all in' on Hall trade>>>

Could Devils send a player—not Hall—to B's?

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Could Devils send a player—not Hall—to B's?

Former No. 1 overall pick and Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall is reportedly on the trading block in New Jersey. The Bruins are looking like a potential suitor, as are the Florida Panthers and Colorado Avalanche. So too have the Arizona Coyotes, who could be a favorite in the sweepstakes.

But as far as Boston is concerned, Matt Kalman of WEEI says to pump the brakes:

"However, that doesn’t mean the Bruins should jump to the front of the line to get him. There are going to be several serious bidders, most in more desperate need of his services than the Bruins, and it is going to cost a mint -- think the haul Ottawa got from Vegas for Mark Stone last season -- to acquire Hall. And unlike Stone, there are no indications Hall is going to sign anywhere after a trade."

If there's anyone on the Devils the Bruins ought to be targeting, Kalman throws out the idea of Kyle Palmieri, who could fit nicely on the wing:

If Sweeney’s going to look for a player with term like last season’s Charlie Coyle trade, (Kyle) Palmieri comes into focus. A 27-goal scorer last season, Palmieir’s cap hit is just $4.65 million for this season and next. Again, the price would be steep but it might be worth it to finally solve this wing problem. 

Palmieri has 11-8-19 totals in 31 games this season, with a plus-2 and an average ice time of 17 minutes. Nearly half his points have come on the power play (5-4-9). 

It's worth noting Hall is out of the lineup again Saturday night, suggesting he might be getting dealt soon.

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