With the NHL on its “pause” for the foreseeable future, actual news regarding the game seems hard to come by. Luckily, the Arizona Coyotes are talking to Taylor Hall about a potential contract.
That’s something, right?
Hall arrived in Arizona in December, part of a package deal with the New Jersey Devils that involved a lot of moving parts. A contract between the former Hart Trophy winner and the team was supposed to wait until summer, but the league’s “pause” due to the COVID-19 pandemic has perhaps fast-tracked negotiations.
General manager John Chayka has been having words with Hall’s agent, Darren Ferris, and there may be some impression of progress. Or, at the very least, some movement.
“I have shared some calls with Darren. I think we’re both just trying to get our head wrapped around this scenario here and how it affects the Coyotes; how it potentially affects Taylor. It’s unique,” Chayka told The Athletic’s Craig Morgan.
Hall is in the final year of his seven-year, $42 million deal. He inked that contract way back in Edmonton and has more than earned his coin, which puts the Coyotes in line to either give him a raise or find a more appropriate dance partner.
“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,” Chayka said. “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.”
The 28-year-old has 52 points in 65 games this season. Hall posted 39 goals in 2017-2018 with the Devils, but injuries significantly shorted the following campaign and he put up just 11 goals in 33 games.
Those injuries will doubtlessly play a role in how Chayka approaches this, as Hall’s only played a full 82-game season once in his career. Right out of the box, he missed the final 15 games of his rookie season with a sprained ankle. He’s also been out of action with shoulder issues, a concussion, a couple of knee injuries, a skate cut, a bruised ankle, and more.
A cracked bone in his ankle, the same ankle that was bruised, kept him out of action for 20 games in the 2014-2015 season.
For the Coyotes, it’s all about calculating risk versus reward – just like any other contract. But it’s not every day you’re doing negotiations with a Hart winner. That puts Chayka and Co. in a very interesting situation.
Photo credit: NHL.com