When the Edmonton Oilers fired head coach Dallas Eakins on Monday, Trade rumors started flying around about some of Edmonton’s top players, including Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. It’s evident the Oilers are in major need of change, but the question is whether or not they would be willing to part ways with some of their core?
Over the past years, coaches among the likes of Pat Quinn, Tom Renney, Ralph Krueger and the most recent Dallas Eakins have been unsuccessful in trying to develop the young team and transition them into the playoffs. Take Taylor Hall for example. Hall is now in his fifth season in the NHL and has never come close to reaching the playoffs. Would the Oilers organization benefit from trading the former number one pick? The answer is yes, as the return for Hall would be great and there would be many teams in the market for the young power forward. One of the teams who may be interested in the Calgary, Alberta native would be the Buffalo Sabres, which raises the question: should the Buffalo Sabres trade for Taylor Hall?
Since being drafted first overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Hall has played in 272 games, recording 243 points; including a career high 27 goals and 80 points in 2013-14. Hall possesses solid size at 6’1 and 201 pounds; however, his durability has come into question over the years. In his first two seasons, he missed a combined 38 games due to injury. There is no doubt that hall is an electrifying offensive player, as he has stellar vision and a wicked shot. The downside is that he can prove to be a defensive liability at times, and until Hall wants to be considered among the league’s best, he must improve his defensive zone play.
The question remains, should the Buffalo Sabres trade for Taylor Hall? And if yes, what would they have to give up for him?
There is no doubt that the asking price for Hall will be quite significant. It is also quite obvious that the Oilers are in dire need of a starting goalie, a top four defenseman, and a veteran top six forward. If I were Tim Murray, I’d offer Tyler Myers, Mikhail Grigorenko, and the Blues first round pick, which Buffalo acquired via the Ryan Miller trade. The Oilers would get a top four defenseman, a solid prospect, and a first round pick in a loaded 2015 draft. Although this may seem like a lot to give up for Hall, the Oilers are probably looking for more.
If the Oilers are trading their best forward, they will do their best to maximize what they get in return. I have no doubt the Oilers will be asking for defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, prospect Sam Reinhart, goalie Jhonas Enroth, and Buffalo’s 2015 first round pick; in return for Taylor Hall. This seems like a lot, but the Oilers need to improve in all aspects, and this trade makes sense for them to offer. However, if I’m Sabres GM Tim Murray, there is no way that I’m even considering this trade. Ristolainen is untouchable, due to his size, vision, and his skating ability, while the first round pick won’t be moved since the Sabres will most likely have a top five selection and should be able to find themselves a very solid player.
Although it is an intriguing situation at the thought of adding Taylor Hall; the asking price is ultimately too high. The Buffalo Sabres will not be trading for Taylor Hall. Tim Murray has done a solid job in the rebuild process thus far, so why change course and go in a different direction? The Sabres have many prospects: Mikhail Grigorenko, Joel Armia, Johan Larsson, Sam Reinhart, Brendan Lemieux, Mark Pysyk, and Jake McCabe who will soon be ready to make the transition to the NHL. In addition to these prospects, they also have three first round picks in a talent loaded 2015 draft, so they will be adding to their already impressive list of prospects. If Tim Murray sticks to his original plan, the Sabres will be finding success in the near future.