June 3, 2019 | 9:20AM ET
BY DAVID PAGNOTTA, The Fourth Period
HALL’S FUTURE MIGHT NOT BE IN NEW JERSEY
TORONTO, ON – The New Jersey Devils grabbed headlines after they won the NHL Draft Lottery in April and they may be on the verge of stealing a few more very soon.
As the Devils try to convince the 2018 NHL MVP Taylor Hall to sign a long-term extension with the organization, multiple well-placed sources have told TFP the 27-year-old, as of now, is not interested in signing a new deal with the club.
Devils GM Ray Shero has had an open dialogue with Hall’s agent, Darren Ferris, but it appears that for the time being, an extension is not in the cards.
Hall has one-year left on his contract that comes with a $6 million salary cap hit and is not eligible to sign an extension until July 1, but that may end up being a moot issue.
Ferris declined to comment about negotiations when contacted by TFP.
“Ray and I communicate regularly and to respect the process I am unable to provide you with any details,” Ferris said via text message.
Even with 2017 first-overall selection Nico Hischier on the team and the club selecting first-overall again this month, Hall does not seem willing to commit long-term. Now not, anyway. While that could change after the 2019-20 season gets underway, it’s unclear if the Devils are willing to enter next season without Hall locked into their long-term plans.
Shero may be dealing with a similar task Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion went through last off-season when he dealt star defenceman Erik Karlsson with one-year left on his contract, at the time, knowing Karlsson wasn’t going to sign with his team.
If Hall becomes available for trade, and it would be quite surprising if the Devils do not explore the market knowing Hall won’t sign with the club (he’s now on the TFP Off-Season Trade Watch list), 30 teams will be knocking on the door to find out the asking price and if there’s a deal to be made.
Hall does not own any no-trade protection and the Devils would be clear to move him to any team that presents what they’d deem to be the best offer.
It’s unknown, at this point, if Hall would consider signing an extension with another team as part of a trade, should the Devils go that route. Teams were granted permission last summer to speak with Karlsson, who notified them that he would not sign an extension as part of a trade.
Moving Hall would generate a significant return for the Devils, and talks could heat up later this month closer to the NHL Draft, though it’s premature to speculate which teams might have the most interest and which players could be packaged in a deal.
In just 33 games with the Devils this season due to injuries, Hall registered 11 goals and 26 assists for 37 points and was on pace for another 90+ point season.
WHEELING AND DEALING IN WINNIPEG
Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is a very busy man these days, having three major pending restricted free agents to deal with in Patrik Laine, Jacob Trouba and Kyle Connor.
Trouba, however, appears to be running out of time in Winnipeg, something he doesn’t seem to be distraught over.
The Jets are engaged in trade discussions for Trouba, who would welcome a change of scenery and could generate a hefty return for Winnipeg – Cheveldayoff is likely to ask for a young, NHL-ready defenceman with top-two potential to be included in a deal.
Laine, as we reported on Sunday, could be another major challenge for the Jets if contract talks do not progress swimmingly.
If the Jets balk at Laine’s asking price, which could hover around $10 million per year, we’ve been told he is willing to explore alternative options, such as a deal with another team or asking for a trade.
It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. It’s still early, and if a new contract gets ironed out quickly, then there’s no need to panic, Jets fans.
THE TORONTO MAPLE TRADES
Patrick Marleau’s time in Toronto seems to be over and the Maple Leafs, as it has been well reported by multiple outlets now, are trying to find him a new home.
Whether they eat some of his $6.25 million cap hit remains to be seen, though after his $3 million bonus gets paid out (and that’s likely when a trade goes down), he’s only due $1.25 million in actual salary the rest of the season.
Freeing up Marleau’s cap hit will require an extra piece added to any trade, which Leafs GM Kyle Dubas is willing to do, but this might not be the only move the Leafs make this off-season.
The team needs to bolster its blueline in a bad way. While the extra $6.25 million cap space created by dealing Marleau will help – as will placing Nathan Horton’s $5.3 million cap hit on LTIR – once Mitch Marner, Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson get their new deals, there’s no wiggle room for anything else.
There are teams interested in centre Nazem Kadri, who has a 10-team no-trade list as part of his contract, and his sweetheart $4.5 million cap hit makes him that much more attractive. The possibility exists for Toronto to move him for a top-four rearguard, though I’m told the Carolina Hurricanes are one of the teams on his list and he’d cancel out a swap to go there.
Connor Brown’s name continues to swirl around and the team has to move Nikita Zaitsev, which may prove to be challenging given he has five-years left on his contract.
Re-signing veteran Ron Hainsey to a one-year deal worth around $2 million to $2.5 million sounds realistic and will help, but the Leafs need more and Dubas will be active this month.