On Monday afternoon, reports came out that Taylor Hall has been traded to the Arizona Coyotes.
The trade is Taylor Hall (50% retained) and Blake Speers in exchange for Kevin Bahl, Nick Merkley, Nate Schnarr, a 2020 first-round pick, and a 2021 conditional 3rd round pick.
The Coyotes’ Acquisitions
Taylor Hall was acquired in the infamous Hall for Larsson trade, and won the Hart Trophy in 2018, as the MVP. Hall found himself sidelined with injury for most of the 2018-19 season, and as an impending UFA, looked like he wasn’t going to sign with the abysmal Devils in 2020. Hall has 25 points (6-19-25) in 30 games this season. In Arizona, he’ll help a team with great goaltending/defense with their mostly average offense.
Blake Speers has struggled in the New Jersey Devils organization since he was drafted in the third round in 2015. Speers, known for being an offensive player, hasn’t gotten it to work in Binghamton of the AHL, and he’ll try to make it work in the Coyotes organization at 22.
The Devils’ Acquisitions
Kevin Bahl is considered the centrepiece on the Devils’ end, the 2018 2nd rounder has impressed with the Ottawa 67s this season. After a season where the defenseman put up 34 points in 68 games, Bahl has had 20 points in 28 games and is currently with Team Canada at the World Juniors. At 6’6, Bahl uses his size to be an effective shutdown player and has added offense to his game. He’s also a smooth skater, something that usually isn’t found in players of his size.
Nick Merkley has impressed at the AHL level since being picked 30th overall in 2015. The 22-year-old has had 89 points in 109 career AHL games, and has 16 points in 25 this season. Merkley hasn’t had a fair shot at the NHL yet, and he’ll try getting it with New Jersey, and prove his offence can translate to the next level. His biggest concern? Staying healthy. In three seasons with Tucson, he’s had a career-high of 45 games.
Nate Schnarr will probably go down as an underrated piece of this deal. Schnarr was drafted in the 3rd round in 2017. At the time he was considered a two-way centre who uses his size at 6’3 but needed to improve skating and offense. In his final season of junior, he killed two birds with one stone. Schnarr went off for 102 points in 65 games, leading Guelph (OHL) to the OHL Championships. In his first pro season, the 20-year-old hasn’t translated the offense to the next level, with 9 points in 22 games. He’ll try finding that OHL success with the Devils.
The 2020 first-round pick gives New Jersey a first-rounder in what’s considered the deepest draft in years. The pick is top-3 protected, because recent years tell us that the protection is a great idea.
The conditional pick is a lot more complex. The pick relies on two conditions. The Arizona Coyotes winning a playoff round, and Taylor Hall re-signing in Arizona. If both of those happen, the Devils get a 1st rounder in 2021. If one of those happen, the Devils get a 2nd rounder in 2021. If none of them happen, the Devils get a 3rd rounder in 2021.
This marks the end of an era in New Jersey, and quite possibly a new one in Arizona.
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