For the second time in less than a year, Taylor Hall is going to be changing teams. And there are sure to be plenty with interest in arguably the top offensive player on the free-agent market.
On Wednesday, Arizona Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong told the media that the team and the left wing will have a "mutual parting," with the 28-year-old set to become a free agent Friday (h/t Fox Sports Arizona). Armstrong was hired as GM in September, while Hall was traded to Arizona from the New Jersey Devils in December.
So where is the former Hart Trophy winner be heading?
The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun wrote Wednesday that the Nashville Predators will be "among the clubs that come calling on Hall." However, LeBrun also noted that the Predators won't likely be able to outbid other teams that pursue Hall.
"They're only going to have so much room for a Hall contract, so this will come down to selling him on fit and the allure of playing in Nashville," LeBrun wrote.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are another team that is "expected to at least inquire on Hall," per LeBrun, who also noted that suitors could look to sign him to a short-term deal and convince him to go back to free agency whenever the salary cap increases.
Even though Hall is set to become a free agent Friday, LeBrun added that he may not sign with a team that day because he will be doing Zoom calls with teams rather than having in-person visits.
Over 65 games with the Devils and the Coyotes this past season, Hall had 16 goals and 36 assists. He then had two goals and four assists in nine postseason games for Arizona, helping the Yotes defeat Nashville in a best-of-five series in the qualifying round.
Will Jets Trade Laine?
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman recently reported that the Winnipeg Jets are shopping right wing Patrik Laine. However, whether they move the 22-year-old could come down to what they get in exchange, and Friedman noted they are "asking a lot in return."
Laine is set to become a free agent after the 2020-21 season, so teams' interest could depend on whether they can sign him to a longer deal after acquiring him.
"I think a lot of teams are interested," Friedman reported. "But in the combination of what it's going to take to sign him and what you're going to have to give up to get him, I think it makes this complicated."
Winnipeg selected Laine with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NHL draft. Over his first four seasons with the Jets, he has 138 goals and 109 assists in 305 games. His best year was his sophomore campaign in 2017-18, when he played in all 82 games and had 44 goals and 26 assists.
LeBrun previously reported that the Jets had trade talks regarding Laine with the Philadelphia Flyers ahead of the draft, but those discussions "seemed to cool off." LeBrun added that the Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes had also shown interest.
Could Simmonds Be Heading to Toronto?
The Toronto Maple Leafs may be looking to add a veteran offensive player when the free-agency period begins Friday.
According to LeBrun, Toronto has "genuine interest" in Wayne Simmonds, who is set to become a free agent, while also noting it would have to be "at the right price." Simmonds is a 12-year NHL veteran who has played for five teams in his career—three of which have been since 2019.
"They have him listed as a target once free agency opens Friday," LeBrun tweeted. "Again, would need to be a reasonable contract for it to work. But Leafs have sincere interest there."
This past season, Simmonds had eight goals and 17 assists in 68 games (61 with the Devils and seven with the Buffalo Sabres, who acquired him Feb. 24). He spent eight years with the Flyers from 2011 to 2019. The 32-year-old has 203 goals and 175 assists in 584 career games.