BOSTON – I’ve tossed and turned with this one for a few days now, but have come to my own conclusion now on this at least: I don’t think the Avs should make a big trade to get Taylor Hall.
My reasons for this:
- I think this team might be good enough, the way it’s constructed, to win. Why does it need a Taylor Hall? I mean, sure, Taylor Hall on your squad is a nice thing, but he’s not the kind of guy they need. Where is he going to play? Top line? So, you’re going to move Gabe Landeskog down to a second line now, and play him with Nazem Kadri and Joonas Donskoi? So then you’re moving Andre Burakovsky down to the third line?
- Have we not seen by now that Burakovsky is perfectly capable of playing well with good players? So you want to stop all that progress he’s been making by giving him fewer minutes on a lower line?
- If you don’t put Hall on the top line, with a MacKinnon and Rantanen, now you’re going to make him a second-line left winger? Is that really where he’d best excel? Shouldn’t a premier talent like him play with the most premier talent around him?
- I really like the Avs’ top six forwards as they currently stand. I love Joonas Donskoi on the top six. I think Burakovsky has top-six talent. Obviously, MacKinnon, Landeskog, Rantanen and Kadri have top-six talent. They don’t need a Taylor Hall.
- And they especially don’t need a Taylor Hall at the expense of any of the following three prospects: Conor Timmins, Bo Byram and Alex Newhook. There is NO CHANCE I give up any of those three in a Hall trade. To me, those three guys are all going to be very good NHL players for many years to come, part of what I believe will be the next phase of the Avs’ young “core”, to add to the MacKinnons and Rantanens and Makars of the team.
- A lot of people have been tossing around Timmins’ name, with the reasoning being: “Well, we’ve got Byram on the way, we’ve got Makar, we’ve got Sam Girard – Timmins is overkill, he’s the guy we can use to get an asset like Hall!”
- I don’t do that at all, if I’m Joe Sakic. I keep Conor Timmins, absolutely I keep Conor Timmins. A young, smart D-man who can play 20-22 minutes a night, a right-shot D to complement, say, a Girard or Byram? A potential replacement for an Erik Johnson, whenever his career winds down? No way I trade him for a player who we have no idea whether he’d be around past July 1.
- Hall is a potential UFA. Do you really think he’d sign an extension with the Avs before having the chance to go to the highest bidder July 1? Hey, maybe he would. I mean, why wouldn’t he want to spend the rest of his career, possibly, skating with Nathan MacKinnon and Co?
- But let me ask you this: How are you going to fit Hall in at, say, minimum $9 million per (and probably more) and also fit in Landeskog and his new deal in two years? Then, how do you do it when MacKinnon can finally sign a new deal in three years? What about Makar’s next deal, which would be due after next season? You’re going to have four guys right there probably making at least $8 million per moving forward, and then have to fit a Hall bonanza contract in too. That’s going to be really tough to do maybe, to keep it all under the cap and still pay 18 other players.
- I like Hall as a player. I do. But why are we assuming he’s going to light it up with the Avs? He’s got five goals in 28 games this season with New Jersey. Burakovsky has 11 goals in 25 games. “Well, that’s because he’s playing with good players Dater. Hall doesn’t have that luxury in New Jersey.”
- Wait, so playing with Jack Hughes and Kyle Palmieri isn’t playing with good players? So, playing on the power play with guys like Hughes and P.K. Subban and Nico Hischier (when he’s healthy) isn’t playing with good players?
- The only chance I do a deal for Taylor Hall is if the Devils don’t want the moon back. Maybe I give up a Martin Kaut and a draft pick. Maybe I think about giving up a Tyson Jost and a draft pick.
- But even if I still do that kind of deal, now I’ve got Taylor Hall to give top-six minutes to moving forward, and I have to take away top-six minutes to guys like a Burakovsky or Donskoi, guys who have earned those minutes already. Now I’m risking altering my team chemistry, all to acquire just a guy who may only be a rental for a few months. I don’t think it’s the move the Avs need to make. Sure, it looks sexy in the headlines – “Avs get Taylor Hall!” – and will get fans buzzing. But this team is good enough up top as it is. To me, I look for maybe another strong D-man for the second half. Maybe another big, depth winger for the playoff grind.
- Agree, disagree? Let me know why.
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