Analyzing the Taylor Hall Trade

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Image: Getty Images

2018 Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall has been traded to the Arizona Coyotes on Monday afternoon. The announcement comes as no surprise to Devils fans around the world. The trade rumors have been floating since the Devils started the season 0-4-2. He expected a winning season this year and has received the opposite. Being a pending UFA this off season, and with no contract extension in sight, the Devils opted to trade the former MVP to receive something instead of losing Hall to free agency. 

The Trade Breakdown

In addition to struggling AHL forward Blake Speers, Devils GM Ray Shero shipped Taylor Hall off to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for AHL centers Nate Schnarr and Nick Merkley, and OHL defenseman Kevin Bahl, as well as a 2020 first-round pick and a conditional 2021 third-round pick.

The conditions for the 2021 pick are as follows: If Arizona resigns Taylor Hall and win a playoff round, the pick becomes a 2021 first round pick. If either of those happens, but not both, the pick is turned into a second round pick in that year. If neither of those circumstances occurs, the pick remains a third round pick. On top of that, if the Coyotes miss the playoffs and their 2020 first round pick ends up a lottery pick in the top three, that draft pick turns into a 2021 first round pick. The Devils have also retained 50% of Hall’s $6 million contract that expires in June.

How does this affect the New Jersey Devils? The subtraction of Taylor Hall only embraces the tank and means that the Devils lose their top scorer. Hall has 6 goals and 19 assists, totaling for 25 points in 30 games this season. Losing a valuable player like this is a big hit to a team’s scoring, but is it worth it? The Devils are second to last in the NHL, only four points ahead of the struggling Detroit Red Wings. Losing him only helps the team’s chances of losing themselves. The Devils now look to obtain the first overall draft pick for the third time in four years. 

Nate Schnarr

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Image: Getty Images

In return for Hall, the Devils acquired three prospects. One of them is AHL center Nate Schnarr. In his first season in the AHL this year, Schnarr has only scored 9 points in 22 games for the Tucson Roadrunners, 8 of which were assists. He did, however, score 102 points in 65 games for the Guelph Storm in the Ontario Hockey League in 2019. Junior success doesn’t always translate into the big leagues, but over 100 points isn’t something to take lightly. The 20-year-old may need a couple more years in the minors to adjust, but he certainly doesn’t seem to be a bad prospect at all.

Nick Merkley

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Image: Mike Christy (@wildcatphotog)

The other forward the Devils acquired in the trade is center Nick Merkley. The 22-year-old former first round pick hasn’t been doing so hot in the AHL this season, scoring only 3 goals and 13 assists in 26 games. A change in scenery could work for him, but it may not be very likely on a struggling Binghamton Devils team. The kid is only 22 years old, and may just need time to develop and find his game. 

Kevin Bahl

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Image: Norm Hall (@normhallphoto)

Lastly, the third player the Devils have acquired is defenseman Kevin Bahl. The 2018 second round draft pick plays for the Ottawa 67s of the Ontario Hockey League, and is having a pretty good season with 20 points in 25 games this season so far. With a +/- stat of +20 and a season total of +50 in the 2018/19 season, it’s obvious that Bahl is pretty good defensively as well as offensively. Whether this production translates to the NHL level is up to the future, but he looks to be a pretty good defensive prospect for the Devils team that desperately needs defense. The 6 foot 6 defenseman will need time to develop, but he could be a great player for the Devils.

The Devils have an almost guaranteed 1st round pick in the upcoming draft. The only way they could lose it is if the Coyotes miss the playoffs and get a top three pick. The position of the pick depends on how the Coyotes perform this season and can vary. Regardless, the 2020 NHL Draft is considered to be a very deep draft. Every prospect in EliteProspects’ Top 31 Prospect Rankings seems promising. There are many defensemen available, and the Devils should have no problem picking out a good player for the future. 

Conclusion

Overall, the Devils lose a great player and gain assets for the future. This was not the return many fans expected. However, it’s a good return for a player that would have most likely left the team in free agency. Ray Shero avoided a 2012 Zach Parise situation and got something out of Taylor Hall instead of nothing. 


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