The New Jersey Devils have not yet traded winger Taylor Hall and the Boston Bruins are one of the teams working towards a deal, but the Bruins front office is not optimistic. An NHL source close to the situation told Boston Hockey Now early Saturday morning, the Bruins have expressed interest in the 2018 Hart Trophy winner and the No. 1 pick overall at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, but “they’re not frontrunners”.
Hall was a late healthy scratch Friday night in Colorado just prior to the Devils’ 3-1 loss. The late scratch set off a firestorm of trade speculation. Hall participated in warmups but was not in the press box with the other scratches and was not present in the dressing room after warmups. New Jersey explained he was held out “for precautionary reasons” as trade talks seemingly reached a boiling point.
NEWS: The #NJDevils are holding Taylor Hall (precautionary) out of tonight’s game at Colorado.
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) December 14, 2019
As of 10:00 a.m. Saturday, New Jersey had not traded Hall but there was still a strong sense across the NHL that the unrestricted-free-agent-to-be would be dealt in the next 24-48 hours. Word around the league was that the Arizona Coyotes and St. Louis Blues emerged as frontrunners to acquire Hall. The Colorado Avalanche were thought to be in the mix, but Colorado Hockey Now scribe Adrian Dater reported late Friday night that the Av’s had no imminent deal with the Devils in place and questioned if Colorado was still interested.
According to our source, the Devils were still looking for a 2020 first round pick in any trade involving Hall, but if the pot was sweetened with an NHL-ready top tier prospect then that first could become a second. New Jersey would also be willing to take on salary in a trade, but that roster player “couldn’t just be a throw-in” the source said.
The Devils are also looking for defense and goaltending.
Bruins Ability to Acquire Hall
New Jersey’s demands would likely mean that the Bruins would have to surrender the likes of a Jake DeBrusk or New Jersey native Connor Clifton from their current roster, top defensive prospect Urho Vaakainainen, and a first or second-round pick.
It wouldn’t be surprising if New Jersey asked for defenseman Matt Grzelcyk instead of Clifton. However, the Bruins are not interested in moving Grzelcyk because of the contract uncertainty with fellow puck-moving rearguard Torey Krug, who like Hall, could become an unrestricted free agent next July 1. Krug has been steadfast in his desire to remain a Bruin and is willing to take a hometown discount, but no deal has yet been reached.
Hall has six goals and 19 assists in 30 games this season. He is a four-time 20-goal scorer and reached the 30-goal plateau once when he lit the lamp 39 times and had 54 assists in his MVP 2017-18 season with the Devils.