NHL Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding Taylor Hall and More

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2014

Edmonton Oilers' Taylor Hall dives for the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Anaheim Ducks, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif. The Ducks won 2-1. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

It’s not every day that a 23-year-old talent who is fresh off an 80-point season is on the trading block in the NHL as early as December, but that appears to possibly be the case for Taylor Hall and the Edmonton Oilers.

Edmonton is a dreadful 7-19-6 and has no real hope of sniffing the postseason, so it comes as no surprise that it may want to shake up the roster.

However, Hall is an asset that a number of contending teams would likely love to have on the left wing.

With that in mind, here is a look at some of the latest rumors from around the NHL, including a glimpse into the Boston Bruins’ chances at landing Hall.

Taylor Hall

Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com passed along an update on Boston’s potential pursuit of Hall:

The Oilers covet both Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton from the B’s organization, according to sources with the Edmonton Oilers, and it stands to reason one of those players would have to be the tent pole for a deal involving Hall. That's going rate for a franchise player even if it's stink-inducing franchise. 

A package of multiple contributors that included at least one of Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton may seem a bit steep for some Boston fans, but Hall is a former No. 1 overall pick who would give the Bruins the offensive firepower they desperately need.

Hall has reached 27 goals twice in his career and 40 points in every one of his seasons. Considering Boston is 22nd in the league in goals scored per game entering play Thursday, it is no secret that it could use more consistent offensive firepower in the lineup.

What’s more, the Bruins had reached the three-goal plateau in only three of the last 15 games before Wednesday’s 3-2 overtime win over the Minnesota Wild.

Lucic seemed to understand the need to at least explore roster movement in his comments, via Haggerty:

As a player in this league you learn not to read too much into those things. Rumors are said all the time. The GM is doing whatever he can to put the best team on the ice, and as a player those are things you can’t control. You trust in your GM that he’ll put the best team on the ice.

You just try to go out there and play, focus on your game and focus on helping your team win. When your teams wins, you never hear about [trade] speculation, or anything like that. If we just take care of that everything else takes care of itself.

It is important to note Haggerty mentioned that it is far likelier for Boston to acquire someone like Buffalo’s Chris Stewart than Hall, which would cost less in return.

EDMONTON, AB - DECEMBER 14: Taylor Hall #4 of the Edmonton Oilers skates during the game against the New York Rangers on December 14, 2014 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Marko Ditkun/NHLI via Getty Images)
Marko Ditkun/Getty Images

Prior to Thursday's action, Boston sits in the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot.

The Bruins are widely considered one of the cornerstone franchises of the NHL and a team that should be competing for favorable positioning in the Stanley Cup playoffsnot its postseason lifeafter losing to the Montreal Canadiens in a grueling seven-game series in the conference semifinals a season ago.

Making a drastic roster move, especially if it's to land a young and enticing talent like Hall, would certainly boost Boston’s outlook on the season. Alas, it still appears to be a long shot for now.

Winnipeg Jets 

WINNIPEG, CANADA - DECEMBER 16: Evander Kane #9 of the Winnipeg Jets celebrates a third period goal against the Buffalo Sabres with teammates at the bench on December 16, 2014 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  (Photo by Lance Thomson/NHLI
Lance Thomson/Getty Images

The Winnipeg Jets are an impressive 16-10-6 on the young season and have overachieved to the point of playoff contention in the Western Conference.

However, the injury bug has hit the Jets hardespecially on the defensive end of the icewhich prompted these updates from Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press:

gary lawless @garylawless

Trade moratorium kicks in Friday and #nhljets will be trying to patch their D before then #bn

gary lawless @garylawless

likely #nhljets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will look to deal from 4th line excluding centre Slater. Chris Thorburn has value. Contract an issue?

The Jets are missing three of their top defenders in Tobias Enstrom, Zach Bogosian and Jacob Trouba. Enstrom and Bogosian won’t be back until January, while Trouba will be out until at least February.

In a recent piece, Lawless discussed the delicate balancing act between not mortgaging the future with a drastic, reactionary swap and rewarding the players who have played so effectively through adversity with a trade that would improve the team in the face of injuries.

WINNIPEG, CANADA - DECEMBER 16: Michael Frolik #67 of the Winnipeg Jets gets mobbed by teammates at the bench after scoring a short-handed goal against the Buffalo Sabres on December 16, 2014 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  (Photo by Lan
Lance Thomson/Getty Images

The problem for the Jets is that they make their living with strong defense. They are third in the NHL in goals allowed per game and eighth in penalty-kill percentage but only 23rd in goals scored and 20th in power-play percentage.

The Jets can make a push for the playoffs if they tread water until their injured defenders get back.

Given their style, though, they just might not have enough personnel in the tank to do that without some type of trade.

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