There looks set to be a blockbuster name on the trade block but the Vegas Golden Knights should show some restraint and bow out of this particular race.
One thing that has become apparent since the Vegas Golden Knights entered the NHL in 2017 is the fact that the front office will make aggressive moves if they feel it will strengthen the team.
So, we know that the front office are completely dedicated to helping this team be all in on winning now, and it won’t be a surprise if they make one or two moves at the Trade Deadline this year in order to spruce up this roster.
However, if they do then it should be for role players and the front office should not look to enter the Taylor Hall sweepstakes, with the forward now on the trading block according to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic.
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“Are you stupid?! He’s an elite talent, of course you would want him on the roster!”
Okay, so I know I am going to get the above quite a bit in response to this piece, but hear me out for a second.
Yes, Taylor Hall is a premier player in the National Hockey League and he would probably put this team over the finishing line when it comes to winning the Stanley Cup.
His resume speaks for itself, after all. He won the Hart Trophy in 2017-18 after accumulating 93 points (39 goals, 54 assists) for the Devils, and he’s amassed 532 points (206 goals, 326 assists) in 587 NHL career regular season games.
And he’s easily one of the elite wings in the league, so he could waltz onto most if not all rosters in the NHL and make that team a better one over night.
Hall is an outstanding scorer, a high-level playmaker but he’s also an underrated two-way forward who can dish out hits and make key plays in the defensive zone.
However, as elite a player as Hall is and as much as he would dramatically improve their roster, the Vegas Golden Knights should not go big game hunting this year.
There are a number of reasons why I don’t think trading for Hall would be a good idea and they are all tied into one factor – cost.
The Devils will be looking for a significant package in order to be persuaded to part company with Hall, and it is worth remembering that the 28-year-old will be a UFA in the summer.
So, not only will you have to give up a hell of a lot in order to get Hall for the immediate future, you will then have to splash the cash in order to re-sign him, and there is no guarantee that the player will want to do that.
Currently carrying an average annual cap hit of $6,000,000, Hall is going to want in the region of $9-11 million based on the market for elite forwards, and the Golden Knights need to spend money on the blueline rather than on another talented forward.
The Knights will have around $15 million in cap space next summer but, as we’ve already mentioned, they need a stud defenseman and St. Louis Blues Captain Alex Pietrangelo could be available on the open market.
Then there is the price of the trade itself, and you can look at the two blockbuster trades the Golden Knights pulled off last year as a guide when it comes to working out what the New Jersey Devils will want in return.
For the Max Pacioretty trade, Vegas gave up a top six forward in Tomas Tatar, a high-end prospect in Nick Suzuki and a second round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft to the Montreal Canadiens.
Then, looking at the gigantic trade that saw Mark Stone head over from the Ottawa Senators at last year’s Trade Deadline, the Golden Knights parted with a depth player in Oscar Lindberg, a highly-rated prospect in Erik Brannstrom and a second round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.
New Jersey will want at least a first round pick in 2020, plus they will also want a prospect included, and maybe more than one if Hall was to re-sign with the Golden Knights.
In-fact, if Hall was to re-sign with the team he’s traded to then it is certain there will be an agreement that the Devils get another high-end prospect or pick in return, so you have to keep that in mind too.
The Knights have raided their farm system enough in order to bolster the roster with the likes of Pacioretty and Stone, so they aren’t in a position to weaken the pipeline anymore.
It would be a fatal mistake to trade someone in the ilk of Peyton Krebs or Nic Hague, while the Golden Knights have mortgaged enough of their future and they need to start building through the draft so that they are in a good position once their Stanley Cup window closes, which it will at some point.
And, here’s another caveat to consider. The Golden Knights are pressed right up against the salary cap ceiling as it is, so if they were to trade for Hall they would have to send over a contract or two to the Devils in order to clear cap space in order to accomodate Hall’s $6,000,000 cap hit.
The obvious candidates that stand out are Reilly Smith and Paul Stastny, who carry cap hits of $5,000,000 and $6,500,000 respectively, but would you really want to remove two glue guys from the locker room and two players that are key pieces on this roster for a player that might only be here for six months?
It wouldn’t be worth the risk when it comes to upsetting the chemistry in the locker room in my opinion, plus Smith is incredibly underrated and losing him alone would be a big price to pay.
Overall, the Vegas Golden Knights have an abundance of talent in the offensive zone and their next move should be to address the blueline, which is in serious need of a radical makeover.
For that reason, coupled with the fact that this team can’t really afford to give up any more prized prospects or lose more key players from the roster in order to create cap space, the Golden Knights should remove themselves from the equation and let other teams fight it out over Taylor Hall.
For this team, there is bigger fish in the ocean to go and fry, starting with a stud blueliner.