John Chayka, the Arizona Coyotes general manager recently told Craig Morgan of The Athletic (subscription required) that, during his extra free time with no hockey, he’s taking a closer look at what’s in store for the Coyotes as it pertains to their free agents. More specifically, Morgan noted that Chayka has begun the process of talking to Taylor Hall’s people about a possible extension.
Chayka said that he’s had some talks with the agent of pending unrestricted free agent Taylor Hall.
“Obviously, our intent was always to get through the season and not having any conflict with Taylor’s play. This leaves us in a bit of a limbo where it’s obviously not technically the end of the season, but it also wouldn’t conflict with his play to talk. All I would say right now is that both sides are gathering information and having some discussions. Where that goes I’m not entirely sure today. As we talk, we’ll see where things go.”
Chayka says that they haven’t spoken with other pending free agents, just Hall’s people.
The reason Chayka had held off talks to this point was that he and Hall’s side decided it was best to let the season play out, the Coyotes either make or don’t make the playoffs and then the two parties could talk contract without the pending decision overshadowing what was an important couple of months for both Hall and the Coyotes’ organization. Now that it appears there may not be a resumption to the season, there’s no reason not to talk about a potential deal.
Chayka also concedes that no actual contract terms have been discussed nor an offer presented. Only initial conversations have started.
The Chances Hall Might Stay
The Coyotes acquired Hall from New Jersey in December, far earlier than many of the NHL trade deadline deals. The hope was that he’d help the team secure a playoff spot. Unfortunately, the opposite happened and the team found themselves posting a much worse record with Hall in the lineup. This is not to blame Hall, only to show that things didn’t work out as hoped and that might have leaned Hall more towards the idea of free agency.
At the same time, there are concerns that the salary cap won’t increase and with that comes a smaller chance some free agents are able to maximize the opportunity to sign big contracts. Hall’s might be among the biggest.