The saga is over.
The New Jersey Devils have traded Taylor Hall to the Arizona Coyotes for a first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, a conditional third-round selection in 2021, and prospects Kevin Bahl, Nick Merkley and Nate Schnarr.
The Devils also included left wing Blake Speers in the trade, which figures to provide a significant boost for the Coyotes’ postseason push.
— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) December 16, 2019
From the Devils’ standpoint, they have landed three prospects with varying experience and ceilings.
Bahl is a left-shot defenseman playing for the Ottawa 67’s in the OHL, and is currently with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships selection camp. In 28 games, Bahl has five goals and 15 assists. He was selected by Arizona in the second round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
Merkley currently plays for the Tucson Roadrunners in the AHL, and has three goals and 13 assists in 26 games. He was Arizona's first-round selection in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Schnarr, a centerman also with Tucson, has one goal and eight assists in 22 games played. He was drafted in the third round in the 2017 NHL Draft.
Draft experts like The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler don’t necessarily consider these prospects to be surefire difference-makers, which should underscore the importance of hitting on the two selections obtained in the trade.
Schnarr, Merkley and Bahl are all interesting for different reasons but none will be stars. Merkley’s already a tweener, Bahl has progressed more than I expected he would, and Schnarr probably becomes a depth F with size. Devils have to hit on that first rounder.
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) December 16, 2019
While there is only one guaranteed first-round selection, there is a chance that New Jersey will use two selections that belonged to the Coyotes in the first round. The third-round pick included in the deal will be upgraded to a first rounder should the Coyotes re-sign Hall and advance at least one round in the postseason.
There are other scenarios that could play out as well, as ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski outlined here:
Interesting conditions on the picks in the Taylor Hall trade pic.twitter.com/XyT02B5kli
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) December 16, 2019
To facilitate the deal, the Devils agreed to retain 50% of Hall’s cap hit.
The #NJDevils retained 50 per cent or Taylor Hall's $6M salary/cap hit.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) December 16, 2019
Arizona was desperate to add scoring, currently sitting with the second-fewest goals amongst teams currently holding down top three seeds inside the four divisions. They lead the Pacific, but only by a slim margin, and with just two points separating them and the wild card Calgary Flames.
Hall is exactly what the Coyotes need to boost their attack.
Taylor Hall is shooting 5.5% this season, was stuck on the 29th ranked power play, and has played in 5 fewer games than Arizona has so far.. and he still immediately becomes the Coyotes leading scorer.
— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) December 16, 2019
The 2018 Hart Trophy winner, Hall spent the past four seasons with New Jersey, scoring 76 goals and 132 assists for 208 points.
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