CHICAGO – The national hockey media said the Avalanche was the odds-on favorite to land Taylor Hall in trade.
“But, I mean, does that mean it’s true?” Avs captain Gabe Landeskog said Wednesday morning.
It wasn’t. NHL sources tell Colorado Hockey Now that there were never any serious talks between the Avs and New Jersey Devils for Hall, the former Hart Trophy winner who was dealt to the Arizona Coyotes Monday. Avalanche management likes the team it has, and isn’t about to deal away top young prospects for a rental player, even one as good as Hall.
Does that mean the Avs won’t make any deals before the Feb. 24 NHL trade deadline? No, it doesn’t. The Avs may well add another piece or two to the mix by then, but teams can forget about pawning off any rentals on the Avs for prospects such as Conor Timmins, Bo Byram or Alex Newhook, and maybe others.
Landeskog has been around long enough to know anything can happen when it comes to sudden personnel changes, but he seemed unsurprised a Hall deal never happened.
“I mean, look, obviously he’s an elite player, a player who won an MVP a couple years ago (whose contract) is up in the summer,” Landeskog said. “But we like our team. We like what we got. We have faith in what our management’s doing and what they’re trying to accomplish here.”
Nazem Kadri came to the Avs via trade, so he certainly wouldn’t have been shocked by anything. But he indicated there was never much chatter in the dressing room about any Hall rumors.
“I don’t know if there’s gonna be moves at the deadline or whatnot. Obviously, that’s Joe’s (Sakic’s) decision. But we feel pretty confident in this room,” Kadri said.
Kadri played on the same Canadian World Junior team with Hall, and called him a “great player.”
But Kadri also knows that the Avs entered Wednesday as the NHL’s highest-scoring team.
“I think we’ve shown what we can do,” he said. “Obviously, what team isn’t looking to get better? But to this point in the season, I think we’ve been good and just have to tighten up a little on the defensive side, and we’re going to be a pretty dangerous team.”