Coyotes get Taylor Hall from Devils for picks, prospects

ByGreg Wyshynski ESPN logo
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Arizona Coyotes traded for star left wing Taylor Hall of the New Jersey Devils on Monday, a move that bolsters their status as a contender in the Western Conference.

The Coyotes sent a conditional 2020 first-round pick, a conditional third-round pick, AHL centers Nate Schnarr and Nick Merkley, and junior defenseman Kevin Bahl to New Jersey for Hall and AHL center Blake Speers. The Devils are retaining 50% of Hall's $6 million cap hit for the Coyotes to fit him in.

"Taylor Hall is one of the elite talents in the game today; a Hart Trophy winner, a high-end playmaker and one of the NHL's most talented forwards," Arizona general manager John Chayka said in a statement. "We are beyond thrilled to add Taylor to our team as we continue in our mission of bringing a Stanley Cup home to Arizona."

If Arizona's 2020 first-round selection is in the top three, New Jersey will receive Arizona's first-round pick in 2021. The conditions on the 2021 pick are as follows: The third-round pick in 2021 becomes a second-round selection if either Arizona wins a Stanley Cup playoff round or Hall re-signs in Arizona. The third-round pick in 2021 becomes a first-round selection if Arizona wins a Stanley Cup playoff round andHall re-signs in Arizona. If neither condition happens, New Jersey still receives the 2021 third-round pick.

It's the second significant move the Coyotes have made for a star winger in 2019, having acquired Phil Kessel from the Pittsburgh Penguins last summer. The Coyotes are atop the Pacific Division at 19-12-4 but are only 23rd in the NHL in team shooting percentage (8.5) and 24th in offense (2.63). Hall obviously helps address that.

Hall said on a conference call Monday that Devils general manager Ray Shero didn't divulge which teams were in the race for his services, but that he had heard the Coyotes were among the interested teams.

The Devils played the Coyotes in Arizona on Saturday night. Hall was held out of the lineup for a second straight game as Shero worked on a trade, and said he was subtly scouting the Coyotes.

"I watched the whole game. I just tried to pay attention, see how they played," Hall said. "It's not every day as a player when you can jump that many spots in the standings and come to a team that's first place in their division. That's a huge boost. It's been a hard last couple of months in New Jersey. Now that I'm joining a team with some young studs, a lot of really good defensemen and two goalies that are playing well this year ... that's what you need in a contender, and that's what it looks like the Coyotes are."

Hall, 28, is an unrestricted free agent next summer.

"I've been open-minded with everything this year. ... I've been open to anything, and I haven't closed the book on signing with any team prior to July 1," Hall said of his status as an unrestricted free agent. "Talking to John Chayka, that's something that we can discuss as time goes on. I think both sides are really comfortable with playing and letting the contract stuff sort itself out. Really that's not what I'm focused on.

"I just want to come and help win games and get to the playoffs and do some damage there. Regarding my contract, I don't think it's healthy for anyone for that to be the focus right now, and I'm glad that I can go to a situation and not have to think about that for a while and just play."

Hall was acquired by the Devils in June 2016 in a one-for-one trade with the Edmonton Oilers for defenseman Adam Larsson. He had 76 goals and 132 assists for 208 points for the Devils in 211 games, skating to a minus-12.

He won the Hart Trophy in 2018 thanks to a remarkable run of 44 points in 22 games that earned the Devils a playoff spot -- the lone time Hall has played in the postseason in his career.

"It meant a lot," Hall said of his Devils career. "I loved playing in New Jersey, and the fans' support for me and the team has been great. After my career is done, when I'm 65 years old, I'll still remember NJ Devils fans chanting 'MVP' for me. That's going to stick with me for a while. I'll always be grateful for my time here."

Hall was drafted first overall in 2010 by the Oilers. He had 132 goals and 196 assists for 328 points in 381 games from 2010-11 to 2015-16 with Edmonton.