New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall is only two seasons away from unrestricted free agency. While that may not be huge news in and of itself, what is interesting is that an Oilers radio analyst seems to think Hall might consider Edmonton when it comes time to sign a new long-term contract.
Hall recently came off a Hart Trophy-winning NHL season in 2017-18 and with two seasons left on his current deal, should he continue to perform well, will be in line for a hefty raise over the $6 million per season he's currently making. Meanwhile, across the NHL, players who are hitting unrestricted free agency are cashing in after taking their time to weight their options. As one of the best left-wingers in hockey, for Hall, the options are endless.
The host of Oilers Now and radio analyst for the Edmonton Oilers, Bob Stauffer recently hinted that fans shouldn't rule out the idea that when Hall needs to decide his future, Edmonton may be a team he considers. Saying on his radio show that even though Hall was not thrilled when he was traded from Edmonton, Stauffer suggested, "If I’m Taylor Hall, if I do go to free agency, I’m looking to go to a place that has a couple great centers.” He added, “Taylor wanted to play here. Taylor wanted to be part of the equation."
The Oilers certainly have two great centers in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. In fact, they have arguably three strong centers when you add in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who will likely play at wing this season. Therein also lies the potential issue.
With the Oilers tight against the salary cap and with players like McDavid and Draisaitl making big money, it's unlikely the Oilers could afford to pay the potentially $10 million or more per season Hall will command.
Still, Stauffer says not to rule the idea out completely. With New Jersey’s quiet offseason and Hall keenly aware that the NHL is becoming a league where players are less loyal to teams, staying in New Jersey is not a given. The Oilers seem like a long shot, but Hall never wanted to leave in the first place and you can never say never.