The hockey world waits with baited breath for the long-rumoured end to the Taylor Hall trade sweepstakes this season. It’s... been a weird ride.

First, the Devils were a bit of a dark horse pick to make the playoffs. They weren’t that far out from making the playoffs two years ago, when Hall won the MVP award. They won the draft lottery and picked Jack Hughes. They traded for PK Subban and Nikita Gusev. They seemed to have good pieces. In hindsight, writing that out is all hilarious because the whole team has been just awful. Subban, Hughes, Hall, every goalie they look at, everyone’s been disappointing.

Now, as a pending UFA, the Devils have fired the coach and are heavily rumoured to be shopping Hall. The Avalanche were considered the early heavy favourites given their cap room and prospect cupboard. Bowen Byram was a name bandied about, and that’s a blue chip prospect if there ever was one.

And then Hall was kept out of the lineup right before the Devils were set to play... Colorado. It was for “precautionary” reasons. Then he sat again in their next game against the Coyotes, who as of Saturday night were said to be the new frontrunners to secure a trade for Hall.

But... the rumoured pieces being negotiated in a New Jersey-Arizona trade are a lot different than the initial assumption that Colorado would have to give up in Byram or their other first 2019 round pick.

On Saturday night during the HNIC broadcast, and reiterated again in more depth in his Sunday night article updating the situation, Friedman said this:

According to multiple sources, the Coyotes were not offering either of their last two first-round draft picks, centre Barrett Hayton (2018) and defenceman Victor Soderstrom (2019). Both are scheduled to play at the upcoming World Junior Championships. I had heard the two teams were haggling over another Team Canada player, 19-year-old Kevin Bahl from OHL Ottawa. He was drafted 55th in 2018 by the Coyotes.

I assume there is more to the package, but don’t know the details. It is believed, however, to be more of a futures-based offer.

Does that seem light to you, for a player of Hall’s caliber? It seemed light to me, until I read this:

During Headlines on Saturday night, I reported that, to this point, no one’s been given permission to talk extension with Hall or agent Darren Ferris.

Ah, yes, that would make more sense for a rental. When you look at the Mark Stone trade just last year, the Senators were able to get Erik Brannstrom from Vegas. But part of that was the willingness of everyone to allow for a contract extension to be arranged before the deal was finalized.

So, what gives? This is apparently a “Ferris” type ploy to never negotiate during the season, but for all intents and purposes this basically seems like a chance for Hall to negotiate a new contract right now as if it IS the off-season. If he has a team he likes, for whatever reason. He can tell his agent and the Devils GM to see if they can work out a trade and a new contract and Bob’s your uncle. He gets what he wants. He might even get more now than he could in free agency, if the team is willing to pay more to make a deep Cup run this year. For the Devils, not being able to work an extension into the deal REALLY hampers what they could get back in a trade.

I mean if all it takes to acquire Hall for the rest of this year is a 2nd round pick-level prospect and “futures”, the Leafs should throw Korshkov or Kokkonen, Ceci or Barrie (for salary), and whatever “futures” they have left. Add Taylor freaking Hall to Auston Matthews, John Tavares, William Nylander, and Mitch Marner.

El. Oh. El.

And then call up Timothy Liljegren to replace Ceci/Barrie since Sandin is going to the World Juniors.

Rasmus Sandin loaned to Team Sweden for the WJC | by Katya

Maple Leafs move Pontus Aberg and Martin Marincin to the Marlies | by Katya

Back to Excited Episode 85: Big John is Back | by Arvind and Fulemin

Auston Matthews has been the Leafs’ best forward this season. So why do we feel like he could be better? | by Bruce Arthur at the Toronto Star [thinking face emoji]

Game #34 Review: Toronto Maple Leafs 4 vs. Edmonton Oilers 1 | a more in depth recap of the Saturday night game by MLHS

Should the Maple Leafs trade from a strength — their forward depth — to help them on D and in goal? | by Mirtle at The Athletic. Counterpoint: trade their defense to get MORE forward depth!


In some great news, the Niagara Ice Dogs goalie who was taken to hospital after getting his the artery in his leg cut open by a skate blade is recovering:

Related to that incident, which happened on Friday night, the rest of the game vs London was cancelled, and all their other games on the weekend were rescheduled until later in the year. The team and the league wanted the players to have time away from the game and to receive counseling for their mental health. It’s not often I’ll applaud the OHL/CHL, but that was a great decision.

Farabee to have hearing for hit on Perreault | by

The Buffalo Sabres sent Casey Mittelstadt to the AHL:

Eric Staal earned his 1,000th career NHL point with a beauty.

Have a happy Monday everyone!

What move do you think the Leafs should make?

Trade an extra winger (Johnsson, Kapanen) for an upgrade on defense or backup goalie93
Trade Barrie or Ceci to free up a spot for Sandin or Liljegren77
Trade a big young defenseman and “futures” for a Taylor Hall rental just for the lulz82