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Blockbuster: Arizona Coyotes trade for New Jersey Devils F Taylor Hall

Taylor Hall #9 of the New Jersey Devils takes the puck in the overtime period against the Chicago Blackhawks at Prudential Center on December 06, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey.The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the New Jersey Devils 2-1 in a shootout. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The Arizona Coyotes pulled off a blockbuster trade on Monday with the New Jersey Devils to acquire star winger and prized trade piece Taylor Hall, the team officially announced Monday, as had been reported by 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro.

The Coyotes will also get AHL forward Blake Speers.

In return, Arizona sends prospects defenseman Kevin Bahl, forwards Nick Merkley and Nate Schnarr, a 2020 conditional first-round pick and a 2021 conditional third-round pick. Multiple reports indicated that the Devils would retain half of the salary that’s left on Hall’s final year of his contract this season.

The retained salary means only half of the cap hit liability goes to Arizona, but even that is pro-rated based on the length of time left in the season. That, combined with the fact that forward Brayden Burke was assigned to Tucson, meant the Coyotes were able to squeeze the former MVP onto their cap sheet.

Multiple reports also said there was no contract extension as part of the deal, making the trade effectively a “rental” … for now, at least.

The 2020 first-round pick is top-three protected, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported. If it were a top-three pick, it would convert to a 2021 pick, Johnston said.

Hall was the most talked-about player in trade rumors as a former Hart Trophy (league MVP) winner on what’s currently a struggling Devils (10-17-5) team. He had 93 points two seasons ago but only played 33 games last year.

He has six goals and 19 assists for 25 points in 30 games this season.

The Devils have been on the road recently and sat Hall out of the team’s last two games, one in Colorado on Friday and one in, coincidentally, Arizona on Saturday. During the Devils’ game on Saturday in Arizona, Hall sat in the press box in the sight of other reporters.

The 28-year-old is in his 10th NHL season and, as an offensive threat, would be a big boost to a Coyotes team that already added Phil Kessel this summer but generally boasts defense and goaltending as its strength. Entering Monday, the Coyotes ranked third in the NHL in goals allowed per game, but only 24th in goals scored per game.

Bahl, depending on who you ask, was one of the two or three most highly-touted defensive prospects in the Coyotes’ system, behind Victor Soderstrom, who appears to be No. 1. He was a second-round (55th overall) pick by the Coyotes in 2018 from the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s. One standout fact about him is his size; he stands at 6-foot-6 and 216 pounds.

Merkley was a first-round pick in 2015 (30th overall) from the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets. Since then, he’s played just one NHL game — back in December of the 2017-18 season — and hasn’t been able to nab a Coyotes roster spot out of training camp yet. The forward is still just 22 years old, and injuries have hindered his development and opportunities. A fresh start elsewhere could be big.

Schnarr is a 20-year-old center drafted in the third round (75th overall) in 2017 and an alumnus of the Guelph Storm of the OHL. He made his pro debut this year with the Tucson Roadrunners and has a goal with eight assists in 22 games played.


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