Taylor Hall is going to be one of the most talked about players leading up to Monday’s NHL trade deadline.
The Buffalo Sabres have the worst record in the league and Hall is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. There’s absolutely no reason for the Sabres to hold on to him past the deadline.
So, what’s the cost to acquire Hall?
“One team executive I spoke with Thursday said if Hall was still sitting there Monday he could see a team get him for a second- or third-round pick plus send Buffalo a contract to make it work,” The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun wrote Thursday. “No question the Sabres want to do better than that. But remember that Hall has a full no-move, he gets to say yes or no to any deal.”
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If the Boston Bruins could acquire Hall for a second- and third-round pick, they should make that move.
Hall has not been highly productive with the Sabres this season with 19 points (two goals, 17 assists scored in 37 games. However, he would be surrounded with much better players in Boston and likely would be rejuvenated by playing on a team heading to the playoffs. Hall also is better than his 2020-21 stats would indicate. He tallied 52 points in 65 games last season — his first full campaign after a knee injury derailed his 2018-19 season. The 29-year-old veteran also won the Hart Trophy in 2017-18.
Hall would be a tremendous fit on Boston’s first, second or third lines. Scoring depth has been a huge issue for the Bruins for several years, and they currently rank 29th in 5-on-5 goals.
Despite playing on the league’s worst team and not having linemate Jack Eichel healthy and in the lineup for a good chunk of the season, Hall has done a good job driving puck possession and scoring chances during 5-on-5 action. Buffalo has had the advantage over its opponents in shot attempts, high-danger shot attempts and scoring chances with Hall on the ice at 5-on-5 this season.
The Bruins should not be giving up a first-round pick to acquire Hall, especially if he’s going to be a rental. Boston has traded two of its last three first-rounders, and that’s hurt the franchise’s prospect pool. A package of second- and third-round picks is a little easier to give up for a talented offensive player such as Hall.