The latest Taylor Hall rumor and its possible impact on the New York Islanders.
The rumor around Taylor Hall is that he’ll take a page out of John Tavares‘s book when free agency rolls around. Like the former New York Islanders star, it is rumored that Hall wants to return home and sign with the Calgary Flames in free agency.
It’s just a rumor, but the link between Hall and the Flames isn’t a new one. Calgary has been after Hall for some time now. The Flames made a play to acquire Hall by trade just this season when he was made available by the New Jersey Devils.
In December, days after Hall was traded to Arizona, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was on Calgary radio and stated not only that the Flames put forward a package for Hall, but that Calgary is somewhere that Hall would like to play:
"Calgary is the type of place I think Hall would like to play. I mean, he might end up staying in Arizona. They’re going to have the ability to offer him more money than anyone else. I think the one thing with Hall, though, is that he likes the big stage and Calgary is a big stage. And I think they knew that appealed to him and they wanted at least the opportunity to speak to him about it."
Calgary has a huge $19.4 million salary cap cushion going into 2020-21, but with only three defensemen signed to deals (Giordano, Hanifin, Andersson) and one goalie signed (Rittich) the Flames are going to have to make moves to free up some space for a free agent like Hall.
With a down year, Hall isn’t going to command nearly as much he thought he might. An $8 million cap is likely going to be Hall’s ceiling in free agency. Adding that type of deal to the Flames cap means they’ll have to move a big deal off of the books to make it fit.
Ideally, moving Milan Lucic and his $5.25 million deal would be the play, but moving him will be next to impossible. Johnny Gaudreau, with his $6.75 million AAV deal, could be available on the trade market. And would return quite the package for the Flames.
The New York Islanders would have the pieces to make a deal for Johnny Gaudreau. The Islanders can offer a now-package that could include a roster player like Scott Mayfield that would give Calgary a big right-shot defenseman who has three years left on a deal carrying a $1.45 million AAV.
They could also offer a future-package with prospects like Kieffer Bellow, Sebastian Aho, or Jakub Skarek. Any pick, including first-rounders, would also be on the table.
Any trade, even a combination of both now and future assets would be worth it for the New York Islanders. Johnny Gaudreau is an incredible talent that would immediately turn the Islanders into a contender.
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Am I reading too much into a rumor? It’s certainly possible. But it’s impossible to ignore the link between Hall and Calgary and what that would mean for Johnny Gaudreau’s availability on the trade market and how Gaudreau is the exact type of player the Isles are looking for.