Photo Credit: Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

This, That and the Other Thing

With competition for eyeballs being as hot as it is, a lot of pundits in various sports have taken to calling themselves “insiders.” When it comes to consistently predicting what’s happening or is going to happen with the Edmonton Oilers, I can probably list all the people who have the real inside dope on one hand.

I’ve never counted the person who goes by the name Tracy Lane on Twitter among them. I’ve always considered the account sketchy, even if she/he apparently guessed right about two or three Oilers’ transactions back in 2011 or so. For starters, the source for this account is somebody named Garfield. Sure. Also, the picture of the woman on the account is actually somebody named Emma O’Neill, a retired model. The insiders I trust use their real names and photos. Then, there’s the track record.

Truth is, while I keep tabs on who is writing what about the Oilers out there, I hadn’t given this account a thought for years and years, since well before the term Fake News was hatched. No wonder – an old man moment by me – as I’ve had the account muted since I can’t remember when. Anyway, that changed today with discussion on one of the local radio shows about Taylor Hall based on a Tweet from the account. Just like that, she/he was back.

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I’d be OK with Taylor Hall returning — at least in a one-for-one trade for Adam Larsson — given Edmonton’s lack of depth on the wings. He’s a terrific player. That said, I haven’t heard anything from anybody else about Hall letting it be known he’d like to return to the Oilers. Is it possible he feels that way? Sure. Would it make any sense for him to say that now? None.

The thing is, Hall, a year removed from an MVP campaign, has an entire season to see how things play out in New Jersey before he’s a UFA. It seems to me Devils’ GM Ray Shero has done good job of bolstering his line-up this off-season. Hall has said he likes living in New Jersey, but what’s most important to him at this point in his career is having a chance to win a Stanley Cup. Would his chances to do that be better in Edmonton than in New Jersey?

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Hall, who’ll be coming off a six-year deal worth $36 million, is going to get paid no matter where he goes. A lot of people think he’ll get $10 million a season or more. Can the Oilers afford Hall? Not this coming season, but they’re in better shape in 2020-21. Might the Devils trade Hall before the deadline this season if he or the team has a bad year? Sure. Might Hall opt to hit the UFA market in the summer of 2020? That’s the smart move from where I sit.

I don’t know what Garfield has heard, but there are lots of ways it could go for Hall, and that includes a return to Edmonton, if you suspend belief he wants to win a Cup. Hey, it’s mid-August and I’m played out on what might happen with Jesse Puljujarvi or what the Oilers line-up might look like next season, so no real harm and no foul with this grist for the rumor mill – there’s always lot of this stuff out there at this time of year. If it’s all the same, though, I’ll wait until there’s a name other than Tracy or Emma or Garfield attached to it before I put any weight in it.


There’s already a lot of great podcasts out there, including one put together by the guys here at Oilersnation, but I’m going to throw my hat in the ring with veteran radio man and friend Bryn Griffiths and see if we can carve out a niche for ourselves. We’re calling it The Outsiders, and we’ll be putting together the first podcast this coming Monday. We’ve got a teaser for it here.

While Bryn and I have been around the sports business for going on 35 years each, we’ve committed to resisting the urge to make this two old farts yelling at clouds. We’ve both got some stories to tell, but more important than that, we know a lot of great story-tellers and those are the people we’ll be talking to. Much of our focus will be the Oilers and Calgary Flames as well as the NHL at large, but we’ll also talk plenty of CFL and tackle issues that are grabbing the airwaves and sports pages locally and nationally.

We’ll start out doing just one a week and try to grow it from there until we’re big enough to get somebody like Baggedmilk or Wanye on as guests. If we’re any good, that’ll happen. If it sucks, it won’t. Really looking forward to this.

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Previously by Robin Brownlee

      • Dr Dragon

        It is in the NHL world these days. Late 20’s going into 30’s players have been slowing down a lot now a days. Also Taylor has had a long history with injuries and his body is not gonna get better

        • Redbird62

          Yes. Look at the slowdown in these guys as they approached or passed 30: Crosby, Malkin, Ovechkin, Kane, Tavares, Stamkos, Marchand, Toews, Giroux and Bergeron. Fact is these are many of Hall’s peers and they are far less susceptible (but not completely immune) to sudden aging impacts than power forwards or mid level talent. A concern about Hall’s proneness to injury is defensible, but at 27, his age is a long ways from a concern.

        • Oilerz4life

          You don’t slow down at 27. Your peak year is 29 and a slow decline begins at 30. But, with proper diet and fitness, you can offset the decline somewhat, to a point. Sekera really proved that. I would roll the dice on Hall 8 days a week. He’ll be a stud throughout his whole career, guaranteed.

          • wiseguy

            Toews signed a $10.5 million contract for 2015-16. He is averaging 62 points per season for the $10.5 million per. That is not a good value and would fall under the description of overpay.

          • BobbyCanuck

            Towes/Kane got the wind fall based on bring Stanley to Chicago 3 times, after a 55 year drought. No one in Chicago cares what they are getting paid.

            Frankly, Oiler fans would not care if we brought in Taylor at 10mil a year, if it meant 3 cups in the next 5-6 years

    • Spydyr

      One would have to assume that is a signed Hall. Even so I would not give up a first for him. I thought by now people would see the quick fixes don’t work. Draft and develop.

      • Gravis82

        Hall was drafted and developed by the oilers and was let go in a bonehead move. Its just re-acquiring a player who should have never been traded for a player we drafted and a player we signed because we thought they would replace hall’s production (JP and Lucic). The first round pick is just making up the gap between chiarelli valuation and real world valuation

  • Dr Dragon

    Click bait article. Hall is never gonna sign to come back to Edmonton and I’m sure the feeling is mutual with management. Salary Cap restrictions and the way Hall was traded outta Edmonton by Chia just when it looked like the Oilers were gonna turn it around with McDavid left a bad taste in Hall’s mouth. The dog days of summer drags on…

  • billsbills

    Outside of two seasons in the last 9, Hall hasn’t been able to break the 65 point barrier. Outside of his one MVP season, he’s never scored more than 30 goals. Whatever team pays him 9 or 10 million, good luck to them. I pray it is not the Oilers.

    • ed from edmonton

      There is a lot of sentiment that Hall will be able to punch his own ticket in his next contract, and that may be the case. But what you point out is correct, he has nit been the guy you can count on for big production every year. His less productive years have often been related to injuries but he has only played 82 games once in his career. The rumor mill has it that the Devils would sign him tomorrow if he would say yes, but that he is not sold on the Devil’s “rebuild”. If Hall has a so so season, for whatever reason, he may wish he had not played so hard to get. Hall back to the Oil would seem unlikely but never say never.

      • Gravis82

        All players get injured. I would rather have 70pts of Hall with 65 games than 35 points of someone at 82 games. All that matters at the end of the year is how many goals your team scored vs. how many you let in. If hall consistently played 82 games, you know he would be getting even more money right? What he will get paid is what he is worth, and that value is attenuated a bit based on his injury history. You have to make these decisions on actual data and what type of player at what salary is going to help you win more games…not just how it makes you feel that he never plays a full season.

        • ed from edmonton

          “Feelings” have nothing to do with it. No GM cam let his “feelings” get in the way of his decisions either. I would suggest a better question is whether a player can out up 65 to 75 points and playing 75+ games on a consistent basis would be a better investment, than a potential MVP but less consistent player.

          • Gravis82

            you often don’t have a choice between a player who plays 65 games 70 pts and one who plays 82 games 70pts…..for the same price. The player who plays more games but same points will get paid MORE. You want 82 games and 70 points, back up the money truck. In fact, add another money truck to the current one thats already parked there.

        • ed from edmonton

          “Feelings” have nothing to do with it. No GM cam let his “feelings” get in the way of his decisions either. I would suggest a better question is whether a player can out up 65 to 75 points and playing 75+ games on a consistent basis would be a better investment, than a potential MVP but less consistent player.

        • ed from edmonton

          “Feelings” have nothing to do with it. No GM cam let his “feelings” get in the way of his decisions either. I would suggest a better question is whether a player can out up 65 to 75 points and playing 75+ games on a consistent basis would be a better investment, than a potential MVP but less consistent player.

          • Gravis82

            hall is about the most consistent player in the league in terms of his production per game. He gets hurt slightly more than average. But some get hurt more, and some get hurt less. Some get more points, some get less points. Some seasons he will play most of the year and those years you may have a cup chance, other he will get hurt and your changes go down. Same for any other player. The fact it, we have a 1st line, all star, left wing, who has always had fantastic possession metric, won a hart trophy, and may want to play in Edmonton even after we traded him and the fanbase essentially turned on him. Think about that for a second. If this is true, he truly does love this city and this team. What more could you possibly want as a fan?

          • Gravis82

            Do you know what the average number of games played last season was? For players who had at least 20 points? 74. Do you know how many seasons taylor hall has played? 9. Do you know how many seasons in which he was above that average in games played? (lets assume that the average is 74 each year). >>> 4. I am saying 4 because he played 45 games in the lockout year, which is a full season, and 45 games would have been above average. 4/9 years he has played more games per year than the average NHL’er, while also play a heck of a lot more than most. One of the below average years, was 72 games. He is an average in this regard. He just get more attention because he’s a star and it is biasing your analysis.

          • billsbills

            Gravis he also averages 64.5 games a season multiply by .909= 56 points a season. That’s not worth anywhere near $9 million to me or any other team if looking at it rationally. It’s just not a risk any prudent GM should take. It’s not like he’s going to get more durable with age.

          • billsbills

            Gravis the thing is you keep comparing him to the “Average Player” but the Average Player makes 3.5 million. People are talking about paying him 3 times that. But as much as you want to claim that Taylor Hall is a 70 points player, he’s just not. He’s done it twice in 8 years if we only count full seasons. For whatever reason, sometimes it’s been poor production, sometimes it’s been injury. But he’s not likely to get whatever team he goes to, 70 plus points. And when you pay a player 9+ million, you need to be able to expect a return on your investment of more than 65 points. Taylor Hall is only that guy, 25% of the time.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Don’t get your hopes up… Hall is coming back to his home town team next year to spite his former team that shipped him off. Don’t you remember his quotes about how disappointed he was at the time of the trade? GO FLAMES!!

    • billsbills

      I really hope he does, there is only about a 100% chance he is going to be severely over paid. I love it when the Flames over pay. There is also a very good chance that he will be spending as much time in the training room as on the ice. I hope you enjoy that dead cap space. Cheers.

    • T Shuttz

      Hall to the flames would be great! He would screw them for years to come. We can rename the Saddledome the Recycle Dome! It’s where all old Oilers go to die. Steve Smith, Grant Fuhr, Lucic, Talbot etc…

  • Ken Holland

    Larsson, JP, and 2020 first rounder for Hall.

    Sign him to a 6 Year 54 Million Dollar Extension.

    Draisaitl McDavid Kassian
    Hall Hopkins Neal

    Unbelievable Top 6. We would have to move some of our money on Defence to make this work. Trade Russell in the offseason.

    Russell, Larssons and Sekeras money is transferred up front to the top 6. Some of the Oilers young D comes up and takes up the spots.

    • You say “Sign him . . .” like that just happens. The lowball $9 million aside, why would Hall sign here for six years? He can sign anywhere else for seven years and in NJ for eight. Why would he leave 1-2 years of term and money on the table with his last big contract to sign here? Have you thought this out?

      • billsbills

        I know GMs get stupid on July 1 but do you really consider $9 a low ball? Considering his injury record and that more often than not he’s not even a PPG player, is he really worth that much?

        Hopefully not for the Oilers.

        • Gravis82

          24th most points in the leauge over the last 9 years…even with the least games played of those around him. He plays iron man style and does not miss a game, he is top 5 point scorer in the last decade. If you happen to get a year where we plays the whole season, you are getting an incredible player that year for less that what that player would have likely cost if every season he played that much. But he will get paid much less, because of his injury history. He is a gamble, and that could pay off if everything breaks right. And if not, he will get you 65 points. 65 points is nothing to sneeze at people

        • Gravis82

          There are only 6 ppg players in the NHL if you look at the last 9 years. McDavid, Crosby, Malkin, Kane, Stamkos, Kucherov. Every one of those players, if signing a contract now at the age of 28 next year, would crush 9 million. Halls ppg is 0.909, good for 21st over the last 9 years.

          • Gravis82

            He is not a 65 point player over a full season, he is a 65 point player over 70 games. This is a huge difference. This means that 1) if he plays a full season, which will happen sometimes, you have a 77 point player and 2) in the playoffs you dont have a 65 in 82 player on the top line, you have a 77 in in 82 player on the top line. Option 2 means your are more likely to win than option 1.

        • ed from edmonton

          Hall has averaged 0.91 PPG and 65 games played per season. Do the math and you get 59 PP season.

          Panarin has averaged 80.5 games per season and 0.99 PPG. That 80 PP season.

      • ed from edmonton

        Tavares signed for $11M a year ago and that is probably a comparable, but…. I don’t think we should under estimate ow important TH’s performance this year will be. If he has a less than stellar year it will have an impact. Looking at Tavares’ stats he has been quite consistent, although never a candidate for MVP.

        • OilFarmer

          Tavares has 4 seasons over 80 points. A 47 point season in the lockout year. He was a finalist for the Hart Trophy in 14-15.
          He also plays a sound defensive game, and plays center.
          Tavares is much more worthy of 11M than Hall is.

  • T Shuttz

    I love the idea of a pay per play contract. Give Hall $75,000 per game played with bonuses at the 60, 70 and 80 game mark. If he plays all 82 he will earn $6.15 million and he can bonus $1 million at 60, 70 and 80games played. Total max contract would be $9.15 million. Fair on both sides.

    I also thing the NHL should be able to take players to arbitration after 2 seasons of underwhelming performance to renegotiate a players long term contract at a certain point. See Lucic contract

    • Redbird62

      The fans and the NHL owners might like these contracts (pay for play), but I the players would hate it. That structure is not allowed under the CBA and I doubt it ever will be. Besides, if those contracts did occur, it would substantially change the way the game is played. If the players were 100% at risk for injury, they would start taking far less risks (see Connor McDavid’s comment after his game 82 injury: “They pay me $100 million to play my game”. As for your second point, would there be a reciprocal- where someone like Nathan McKinnon is now being grossly underpaid and should get north of $10,000,000 million because he is playing way better now than the $6 million he signed for? Using your logic, Draisaitl could soon have an argument he is underpaid.

      • T Shuttz

        I know it will never be reversed but, I would rather they renegotiate Draisaitl’s contract and give him more money if he plays that way. Think about all the cash savings the other way over the years, Lucic, Manning, Poliot, Gryba just to name a few in recent memory. Sekera was a legit injury, so that’s fine. All I’m saying is there should be some sort of circumvention for teams if its obvious that the player is dog F*&%’ing it out there for games/months or seasons to come. Frustrating to watch, pay for as fans and to feel proud to cheer for a multimillion dollar “athlete” complaining about the working conditions he’s facing and needing a few more million to make him hustle a tad more. You don’t play, we don’t pay.

    • Oilers2017

      Are you actually serious? Renegotiate a written contract? By the NHL? What kind of crazy can would that open? That would mean that ALL contracts would be open for renegotiation by anybody, no? Player agents included? Best way to avoid that problem is to have responsible management, period. I have a little faith that we finally have that, but I don’t blame you for taking that stance☺

    • Hemmercules

      These are the kind of suggestions that bring on lockouts. The NHLPA would never agree to any of it. Why would a player take a pay cut because they got hurt on the job? If my boss told me to work a dangerous job, but if I get hurt its on me, I probably walk away from that.

      Performance bonus are already a thing so that can help a player try to boost his numbers. Too bad Looch didn’t have less guaranteed money and more performance bonuses in his contract. I don’t disagree about the arbitration thing for underperforming but again, the NHLPA would never go for it. It’s really on the GM’s handing out those stupid money contracts to aging players that will most definitely underperform for the money they get.

      • Redbird62

        Under the current CBA, only entry level contracts and contracts with players over 35 years old can have performance clauses. The only real protection with a high cost standard contract against substandard performance both from an actual cost perspective (owner problem) and cap hit perspective (managing team performance problem) is the buy out clause. Lucic and his agent out-negotiated Chiarelli, (like that was hard) in terms of the bonus structure greatly reducing the protection provided by a buyout. In fairness to Chiarelli, a lot of players bonus structures sought and obtained by agents for their clients in the last few years were often designed as protection against the expiration of the CBA in 21-22 and the give backs that might entail like happened last time and not because players were worried that their play would decline making them buyout targets.

  • Bond 0097

    Hall was a love him or hate em kinda player for the Oilers. Don’t forget he was the fastest guy in the nhl to the bench during a scrum. He was NOT a great team player and no tears were shed over his trade other than the return was far too low. I for one am happy to watch someone else overpay him for the next 7 or 8 years.

  • he shoots he scars

    Hall will be 28 when a new contract kicks in. So was Lucic, Sekera, Pouliot, and Korpikoski for Edmonton, and we can likely add in Neal who was 31 at signing. Also around age 28 were recent buyouts C Perry, Shattenkirk, Phaneuf, and there are many other problem contracts in the league. If you are only going to get a few good years out of a player, then only sign them for a few years and pass on signing them long term and having a cap problem down the road. If the battered Hall gets a 5+ year deal, he’ll be a 3rd liner by the end of it, no matter what team.

  • Stauffer has been putting out tidbits about Hall for months around the “possibility” of a return. That doesn’t mean it happens. Stauffer is well connected, we can all have hope. Unfortunately that most likely means the sacrifice of Nuge 🙁

  • vetinari

    Congrats on the podcast Robin… be sure to plug a reminder over here next week when it goes live.

    On Hall… we could use him but it would take a massive overhaul to fit him in under our cap in the next year or so. We’d need to dump some of our pricier contracts and Holland is good, but not a miracle worker.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    I am surer lots of team would be interested in Hall but I dont see the Oilers doing more than some tire kicking, I think having hall and his salary here would mean someone with a salary not far off from Halls would have to be leaving the Oilers, so your looking at Nuge or Klefbomb and god forbid Nurse, I dont think the Oilers could get Hall for what they traded him for last time to be honest, I think NJ would want more than that. I am not too sure how Jazzed Hall would be about coming here, in NJ there isn’t a ton of pressure from the media and fans, here in Canada there would be and Hall knows this.If Hall for some reason doesnt sign in NJ I think Hall would go to a US based team

    • BringtheFire 2.0

      @Dallas Weren’t you one of the Oiler fans calling him team poison and whatnot? He gets traded, everyone invents reasons to hate him, he might come back, and all is forgiven. Is that about right?

      You Oiler fans sure are loyal, I’ll give you that.

      P.S. I agree with you, no chance he comes back.

      • Dallas Eakins Hair

        No that wouldnt have been me. I actually like Hall and wasnt happy about the trade. I have heard the rumours about Hall and the coaches nto seeing eye to eye, but as far as I know it’s just that rumors… so no it wouldnt have been me bashing Hall, I just dont see Hall coming back to canada to play unless its some offer that knocks his socks off from a team out easy, but honestly if he goes anywhere it will be to a US based team way less of a fishbowl

  • Derkus the circus

    I have always been a big fan of Hall. But money will make this situation impossible. Free agency Kool-Aid will kick in and he will be making more money than I would really want to pay him.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      I agree, Hall will get paid, but he wants to get on a team with a chance to win which will limit his options because a lot of teams dont have the cap space, Hall wants to stay in NJ but I dont know if the devils can make it work… but I dont see him coming to the Oilers, I’d be shocked if that happened

  • Hall should keep quiet and sees how this season goes. New Jersey isn’t exactly a powerhouse yet, but he has to be excited about some of their moves. Hughes, Gusev, Simmonds, and Subban…in addition to Nico Hischier…I’d wait and see if he catches fire with that lineup. At the very least it drives up the asking price next summer, and some GM will go bananas and sign him for $10 mil for seven years.