According to Pierre Lebrun of TSN, the Arizona Coyotes are not looking to move forward Taylor Hall despite being on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. No doubt the Coyotes could profit from moving Hall if they figured they wouldn’t be a contending team or got the inkling he wasn’t going to extend his contract, but the Coyotes are gambling keeping him is a move that will payoff anyways.
GM John Chayka understands the risks involved here. There were no guarantees the Coyotes would make the postseason when they acquired Hall and there was certainly no guarantees Hall would have an interest in re-signing. Still, Chayka’s rolling the dice.
LeBrun reported Tuesday that the Coyotes will offer a long-term contract extension to Hall, even though Hall and agent Darren Ferris have communicated to the Coyotes they will not engage in negotiations during the season. The expectation is that Hall will test the free agent market when free agency opens up this summer. Hall’s agent re-stated the fact there’d be no talks when they met with Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo in Montreal on Sunday night.
Thus, going for it means the Coyotes could win up with nothing when this is all said and done.
What Are the Coyotes Potentially Giving Up?
The Coyotes acquired Hall on Dec. 16 from New Jersey in exchange for a top three-protected first-round pick, a conditional third-round pick, as well as prospects Kevin Bahl, Nick Merkley and Nate Schnarr. In a sellers trade market, there’s a strong argument Chayka could do better than this and trade Hall for a profit.
Hall has been almost everything the Coyotes could have asked for with 20 points in 23 games. Still, they’re not a playoff team, at least not yet. 9-11-3 since Hall arrived, an injury to All-Star netminder Darcy Kuemper and trouble getting production out of other players sees the Coyotes not in the playoff picture. But, a few wins in a row and the team isn’t that far out of first in the Pacific Division either.
Chayka must be prepared to see this all backfire. If the Coyotes struggle and February 24 passes, with Hall likely to test free agency and sign elsewhere, this could end poorly. Chayka knows it’s a gamble. He’s just hoping it works.