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.
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.
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 playoffs—not its postseason life—after 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.
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 hard—especially on the defensive end of the ice—which prompted these updates from Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press:
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.
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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