Over the next couple of months, we’ll be looking at possible free-agent fits for the Edmonton Oilers. Today, we have Taylor Hall.
Taylor Hall is the cream of the crop of this year’s free agency class.
He’s coming off of his six-year, $6m AAV deal he signed with the Oilers in 2012 — a deal that saw him play for three teams.
This past year he split time with the New Jersey Devils and the Arizona Coyotes and scored 16 goals and 52 points in 65 games. After being drafted by the Oilers 1st overall in the 2010 draft, Hall has gone on to have a solid 10-year career in the NHL scoring 563 points in 627 games.
Hall’s best NHL came in the 2017-18 season with the Devils when he scored 39 goals and 93 points in 76 games and was named the league’s MVP.
While he’s seen individual success, Hall has only played in 14 career playoff games — nine of which came this season. He’s been arguably one of the better players in the NHL over the last decade but has never seen the playoff success that someone of his calibre deserves.
His poor luck in terms of playoff success is carrying into what could be a wild free agency period for Hall. As we all know this year there’s a flat cap and it’s going to impact Hall and the next deal he signed.
He’s deserving of a deal worth $8-million long-term undoubtedly, but the chances of him actually getting that deal are slim and this is why. Hall, in my eyes, is going to be looking to sign with a team chasing multiple Stanley Cups during his time with the said club.
The majority of clubs that are in the chase for the cup and are looking to do so over the next number of years are teams that are typically already without the cap space to afford Hall at what his market value should be.
So then it comes down to what Hall chooses to do. If he’s willing to take less money there’s no doubt it would open up the possibilities of teams who could sign him to a contract.
A team like Colorado, for instance, are one club who may be able to make something like that work. It would see Hall join an already elite offensive corp featuring Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog and Cale Makar.
Edmonton, too, may be able to take a swing at Hall at a lower cost. It would almost undoubtedly need to see the Oilers move on from the likes of Adam Larsson and Kris Russell solely for the money purpose. Matt Benning and Caleb Jones would be able to eat into more minutes next season to help fill those defensive voids.
Hall would slide into the Oilers top six and provide a definite improvement to team’s wings. He would allow a ton of flexibility for Dave Tippett in creating lines.
He could reunite the Dynamite line of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, @Leon Draisiatl and Kailer Yamamoto, then Hall could slide onto the top line with Connor McDavid and Tyler Ennis.
If Tippett wants Nugent-Hopkins alongside McDavid, no problem. Hall would also be a solid fit alongside Draisaitl and Yamamoto.
Hall, of course, would, first of all, want to come back to Edmonton and who knows if that’s even a possibility. Nonetheless, whoever lands Hall will be adding a dynamic high scoring player who will make their team better.
On Twitter: @zjlaing