With 17 straight losses to their name, the fire sale is officially on for the Buffalo Sabres.
Eric Staal was the first player blessed with a move out of Buffalo, as the team sent the 36-year-old to Montreal in exchange for a third- and fifth-round pick on Friday. The Canadiens were on Staal’s 10-team no-trade list, so the Sabres had to ask him for permission to facilitate the trade to Montreal. (I’m sure that didn’t take much thinking from Staal.)
But with Staal gone, Taylor Hall, who took a one-year bet on himself with the Sabres, appears to be next. And the Sabres are certainly shooting for the moon with their initial ask, as first reported by Pierre LeBrun.
Hearing that the initial asking price for Taylor Hall involves a first-round pick... Probably going to be tough to get that in this buyer's market but it's the right place to start two weeks out if you're Buffalo. @TheAthletic @TSNHockey— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) March 26, 2021
Swallowed whole by Sabres misery, the 29-year-old Hall has 17 points through 33 games, but is currently in the midst of his worst season in terms of both shooting percentage (2.5) and plus-minus (minus-20). The shooting percentage woes are a continuation of his 2019-20 struggles between the Devils and Coyotes, too, which came with a career-low 6.9 shooting percentage.
The Sabres’ ask may seem reasonable when you consider that the Devils did receive a first-round (and more) from the Coyotes in return for a Hall rental in 2019. But that was when Hall was playing noticeably better hockey, and in a trade market that wasn’t exactly buyer-friendly compared to this one, both in terms of talent and teams looking to ditch money.
The Bruins, of course, have been linked to Hall in the past, and are likely looking at scoring help this deadline.
But there’s simply no chance that the Bruins are going to trade a first-round pick for the second year in a row if it’s for Hall. It’s just hard (impossible) to imagine the Bruins, who couldn’t sign Hall this past offseason without making other moves first (thus telling you that their interest wasn’t exactly hot to begin with), suddenly trading a first-round pick for him.
If the price dips, however, the Hall sweeps will certainly be worth watching.
Drafted with the No. 1 overall pick in 2010, Hall has totaled 220 goals and 580 points in 659 game between the Oilers, Devils, Coyotes, and Sabres, along with four goals and 12 points in 14 career playoff games.