The New Jersey Devils dealt forward Taylor Hall and center Blake Spears to the Arizona Coyotes early Monday evening after the team scratched the 26-year old for the past two games due to “precautionary reasons.” The Devils acquired a first-round pick in 2020, a conditional third-round pick in 2021, in addition to prospects Kevin Bahl, Nick Merkley, and Nate Schnarr in return. Hall’s name has been swirling in trade rumors for the past few weeks as the Devils currently sit last in the Metropolitan Division with 25 points and he is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
🚨#NJDevils NEWS: Taylor Hall and Blake Speers to ARI in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, third-round selection (conditional) in 2021, D Kevin Bahl and F Nick Merkley and Nate Schnarr.https://t.co/PPZFky75oV
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) December 16, 2019
The third-round pick will become a first-rounder if the Coyotes re-sign Hall and win at least one Stanley Cup Playoff round. If one of those instances occur, the pick will become a second-rounder.
Hall has recorded six goals, 25 points, and a -11 rating in 30 games this season after being limited to only 33 a season ago due to a knee injury. He won the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP in 2017-18 when he set career-highs in goals (39), assists (54), points (93), and plus-minus (+14) in 76 games.
After acquiring center Jack Hughes with the first overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, defenseman P.K. Subban in a trade with the Nashville Predators, forward Wayne Simmonds in free agency, and forward Nikita Gusev in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights, the Devils have been one of the league’s biggest disappointments this season as they started off 0-4-2, which included regulation losses to the Winnipeg Jets on October 4 in a game in which they led 4-0 and the Florida Panthers 10 days later where they led 4-1.
The Devils fired head coach John Hynes on December 3 and promoted assistant coach Alain Nasreddine to interim head coach.
With the addition of Hall, the Coyotes add a much needed spark to an offense that is currently tied with the Calgary Flames for 24th in the league with an average of 2.63 goals-per-game. They currently lead the Pacific Division with 42 points, which is also tied with the Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets for third in the Western Conference. With Hall now in the mix, the Coyotes add one of the biggest stars in the league for the second time in just under six months after acquiring forward Phil Kessel from the Pittsburgh Penguins on June 29.
In 592 career NHL games with the Devils and Edmonton Oilers, the 28-year old has 208 goals, 536 points, and a -39 rating. The Oilers dealt him to the Devils in exchange for defenseman Adam Larsson on June 29, 2016.
In 10 NHL seasons, Hall has played just five career Stanley Cup Playoff games.
He will likely test unrestricted free agency in July but his agent, Darren Ferris, will listen to any contract offers Coyotes GM John Chayka presents him, according to TSN’s Darren Dregger.
Spears, a third-round pick by the Devils in 2015, has recorded only an assist and a -7 rating in 10 games with the AHL’s Birmingham Devils this season.
Merkley, 22, has recorded three goals, 16 points, and a -3 rating in 26 games with the AHL’s Tuscon Roadrunners this season. He was the 30th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Schnarr, 20, has posted a goal, nine points, and a +10 rating in 22 games with the Roadrunners this season. He was selected in the third round of the 2017 NHL Draft.
The Devils now have $9,316,326 left in salary cap space.
From The Devils
The New Jersey Devils today traded left wings Taylor Hall and Blake Speers to Arizona in exchange for Arizona’s first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft (top-three protected), Arizona’s third-round selection (conditional) in 2021, defenseman Kevin Bahl and forwards Nick Merkley and Nate Schnarr.
If Arizona’s 2020 first-round selection is in the top three, New Jersey will receive Arizona’s first-round pick in 2021.
The conditions on the 2021 pick are as follows: the third-round pick in 2021 becomes a second-round selection if Arizona wins a Stanley Cup Playoff round OR Taylor Hall re-signs in Arizona. The third-round pick in 2021 becomes a first-round selection if Arizona wins a Stanley Cup Playoff round AND Taylor Hall re-signs in Arizona. If neither condition happens, New Jersey still receives the 2021 third-round pick.
Bahl, 19, is a 6’7″, 230lb. left-shot defenseman who plays in Ottawa (OHL) and is currently at Team Canada’s World Junior Championships selection camp. In 28 games this season with the 67’s, Bahl has five goals and 15 assists and 43 penalty minutes. He is the only blueliner in the OHL with 20-plus points and 40 or more penalty minutes. The native of New Westminster, B.C. posted six goals and 28 assists and 34 points in 68 games played in 2018-19 and was fifth in the OHL with a +50 rating. Bahl was Arizona’s second-round selection, 55th overall in the 2018 NHL and is current Ottawa teammates with Devils draft picks, Graeme Clark, Mitchell Hoelscher, and Nikita Okhotyuk.
Merkley, 22, is a 5’10”, 195lb. right-shot center who currently plays in Tucson (AHL) and has three goals and 13 assists in 26 contests. In 2018-19, he scored 10 goals and 24 assists for 34 points in 45 games and he played in the 2017-18 AHL All-Star Game. He was Arizona’s first-round selection, 30th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Schnarr, 20, is a 6’3″ 180lb. center, who currently plays in Tucson (AHL) where he has one goal and eight assists in 22 games played. Arizona’s third-round selection, 75th overall in the 2017 NHL Draft, Schnarr led Guelph (OHL) in scoring last season with 102 points (34 goals, 68 assists)- ranking seventh in scoring and third in assists in the entire Ontario Hockey League. He helped lead the Storm to the OHL Championship where he had eight goals, 11 assists for 19 points in 24 games.
Hall spent the past four seasons with New Jersey, scoring 76 goals and 132 assists for 208 points and 102 penalty minutes in 211 regular-season games. He added two goals and four assists in five games during the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. In 2017-18, Hall was named the recipient of the Hart Memorial Trophy as Most Valuable Player and was a member of the NHL First All-Star Team. He set career highs across the board with 39 goals, 54 assists and 93 points while helping lead the team to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in six years. Hall was originally acquired by the Devils from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for defenseman Adam Larsson on June 29, 2016.
By Harrison Brown