64Taylor Hall
Photo Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Could Edmonton make a Taylor Hall return work?

Could Taylor Hall be planning a triumphant return to Edmonton?

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, there’s certainly a possibility that it could happen.

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I’ll be the first to admit, it’s going to be tough to make the numbers work.

First off, Edmonton has $24-million in cap space this offseason. It’s going to be tight, but with Ken Holland at the helm, I think we could make something work.

That is, of course, if the Oilers can find a sutor for Kris Russell and maybe Alex Chiasson.

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Darnell Nurse is going to be the biggest ticket in the offseason and is going to cost Edmonton a pretty penny. Let’s say, conservatively, that the team is able to get him around $7-million for seven years.

It would leave Edmonton with around $17-million — Russell and Chiasson trades notwithstanding — to sign Taylor Hall, a 1B goaltender to play with Koskinen along with @Zack Kassian, Markus Granlund, Josh Archibald, Joakim Nygard, Gaetan Haas, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco, Patrick Russell, Sam Gagner  — *pauses for a breath* — @Brandon Manning, Matt Benning, Joel Persson, Ethan Bear, Mike Smith, Ryan Mantha, Nolan Vesey, Cameron Hebig — *gets another breath* — Logan Day, William Lagesson, Caleb Jones, Brad Malone, Shane Starrett, Josh Currie, Keegan Lowe and Colby Cave. 

Okay, so not all of those guys are going to sign with the Oilers, nor are they all NHL deals. The latter half of the group will be AHL deals, but nonetheless, Edmonton has some serious work to do this offseason.

By my count, there are about 14 players that Edmonton needs to re-up or find replacements for. So for the sake of the exercise, Edmonton signs Taylor Hall to a contract that pays him $10-million a year which leaves them with only $7-million in cap space which clearly won’t be enough to replace the remaining players.

In a perfect world, Edmonton takes Kris Russell and Alex Chiasson out of the equation without bringing back any salary, and you’ve got about $13-million in space to work with once again making things quite tight.

Edmonton could theoretically promote some young players like Kailer Yamamoto, Tyler Benson and Ryan McLeod taking away some of the need to fill positions.

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The truth of the matter is that a Taylor Hall reunion to Edmonton is going to be tough — there’s no other way to put it. The person who grew up a huge fan of Hall wants nothing more than to see him back in the orange and blue, but the columnist in me says maybe not.

He’s had success in New Jersey — that’s not something to ignore. 188 points in 187 games, a 93-point season and a Hart trophy on his mantle. Not bad.

He creates offense like few in the league and is a constant threat on the ice. That, plus comments about John Tavares’ free-agent process being intriguing, it’s clear that even if Edmonton could make it work money wise, he’s clearly going to be courted hard by at least half of the NHL.

Having taken only one trip to the playoffs, Friedman suggested that Hall could be looking at leaving the winless-Devils. If that’s the case, he would have an opportunity to join an Oilers squad that is making an early case this season for a potential playoff sleeper.

Hall would undoubtedly push Edmonton even closer to being a perennial playoff team, and a team one step closer to a Stanley Cup champion.

On Twitter: @zjlaing

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