Could Taylor Hall Be A Trade Target For The Nashville Predators?


On December 15, TSN’s Darren Dreger said Edmonton’s Taylor Hall is on the trade block. The news came on the same day the team fired head coach Dallas Eakins. Dreger claims that some members organization believe Hall is un-coachable and is a big reason why Eakins was let go.

However, Eakins said Hall’s attitude is not the problem with the Oilers.

The Edmonton Oilers have had four different coaches since Hall joined the team in 2010. Playing alongside Hall are Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov, all three players were drafted first overall by Edmonton, none of them have played in a single playoff game.

Something leads me to believe that the Oiler’s dysfunction is not the result of Hall’s attitude. The front office is probably using Hall as a scapegoat to justify a trade that can yield more talented prospects who it will later blame when the Oilers remain at the bottom of the Western Conference for the next decade.

So if Dreger’s report about Hall being shopped by Edmonton is true, then David Poile needs to get on the phone with the Oiler’s general manager Craig MacTavish–ASAP.

First reason why the Preds should trade for Hall: he’s very good and very young (of course).

Not too often do you see a former first overall pick who has put up team-leading numbers get shopped this early in their career. There was a similar situation with the Boston Bruins and Tyler Seguin, who was selected second overall in 2011. Seguin was traded to the Dallas Stars and is currently leading the NHL in goals scored and total points.

Last season, the 22 year-old Hall scored 80 points, this season, he’s scored 21 points through 28 games. The Predators haven’t had an 80-point scorer since Paul Kariya tallied 85 in 2006 at the age of 32.

With Filip Forsberg looking like the Calder favorite and James Neal’s success, Nashville has two elite offensive skaters to build its attack around. Adding Hall would give it the strongest foundation the franchise has ever had to build upon.

It seems like Preds fans hear it every few weeks, but it remains true, Nashville has never had a player like Forsberg, and it’s definitely never had a player like Taylor Hall.

If the Preds acquire Hall, the top two lines could look like: Filip Forsberg, James Neal, Mike Ribiero; Craig Smith, Mike Fisher and Taylor Hall. If Smith and Ribeiro get re-signed, imagine that line up for the next three to five years, especially with Nashville’s defensive core and Pekka Rinne already locked up.

The second reason the Preds should trade for Hall: They have plenty of trade-bait.

Let me start off by saying that I do not believe in sacrificing the future to make a post season run, but in the case of Hall, trading away a couple good prospects and some high-round draft picks would be worth acquiring a potential superstar for the next six years at least.

For the first time in a long time, the Predators are well stocked with young forwards. Guys like Kevin Fiala, Calle Jarnkrok, Pontus Aberg, Vladislav Kamenev and Austin Watson can be included in the deal. Poile should do his best to limit attrition from this group, but giving up one or two of these guys wouldn’t be detrimental to the franchise’s farm system.

Two other prospects that may grab MacTavish’s attention would be defensemen Jonathan-Ismael Diaby and Jack Dougherty. While Poile has built one of the best defenses in the NHL, it’s important to keep a steady group of defensive prospects in the pipeline. But are either Diaby or Dougherty valuable enough to withhold them from Edmonton if Poile wants Hall? No.

Speaking of defense, if the Preds and Oilers get serious about a trade, one guy whose name will be brought up while discussing potential deals is Seth Jones. Even if the only way for Hall to end up in Nashville is trading Jones, Poile should stand pat. Jones could be the defensive version of Hall in a couple of years; the price of losing a potential star on defense is too high, even for one of the league’s best young players.

Being a young team, the Oilers may be looking for some veteran players in a deal for Hall.

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Even though Olli Jokinen hasn’t produced this season, he continues to play hard and create chances on the offensive end. And while he’s not the 70-90 point scorer he used to be, he’s had success recently in Winnipeg and Calgary. He is also playing under a one-year $2.5 million contract. Maybe a change of scenery would be best for the 16-year veteran and the Oilers. Of course it’s still early in Nashville for him.

Colin Wilson is another guy who Poile could be willing to move in order to land Hall. Wilson continues to show flashes of his potential as a top line center, but has yet to put together a complete season since joining the Predators in 2008. With all of the Oilers’ young talented wingers, Edmonton could be a good fit for Wilson.

It will definitely require the Predators to put together some type of package to land Hall in Nashville.

The third reason why Preds should trade for Taylor Hall: He’s ‘affordable’.

Hall has six years and $36 million left on his contract with the Oilers, according to CapGeek. The Predators have just over $16 million worth of cap room today. Even though Nashville’s owners don’t have pockets as deep as others in the league, $6 million a year for six years is not a bad deal, especially considering how much they are paying Shea Weber and Rinne.

More money could be freed up for Hall if Poile decides to part with Viktor Stalberg, Fisher, Matt Cullen, Jokinen and/or Derek Roy after this season.

If Nashville’s owners are okay with shelling out $6 million a year for one of the best up and coming players in the NHL, Poile needs to get on the phone with MacTavish. Parting with top prospects and high draft picks is hard if you’re a general manager, but ultimately, the return would be well worth the price.

It is worth noting that the NHL is currently in their Christmas freeze. No trades can be done prior to midnight of December 27.