Trade deadline weekend is upon us, and Taylor Hall is still with the Buffalo Sabres.
That’s unlikely to remain the case by the time 3 p.m. Monday rolls around, especially if the price drops out below Buffalo’s (insane) initial asking price as some believe, according to the latest update from The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun.
“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,” LeBrun wrote. “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.”
Taking a one-year gamble on himself and the Sabres, Hall is on the market in the midst of his worst NHL season to date, with just two goals and 19 points in 37 games. Hall’s 2.3 shooting percentage is the worst of his career, and his minus-21 is also the worst of his career (and stands as the fourth-worst in all of hockey this season). He also signed an $8 million deal to take that gamble in Buffalo, meaning that he’s not exactly considered the most affordable option for a contender.
In other words, the Sabres have their wishes, sure, but they’re unlikely to do much better than that lowered price.
And this is where things could get interesting for the Bruins.
If the Bruins were to acquire Hall, there’s almost no doubt that he would upgrade their second or third line. Even with his ‘baggage’ of a slumped-to-hell 2021 campaign and the fact that he’s on his third team in two seasons (the B’s would make it four). They’re that starved for depth scoring. And if the price for Hall would be beneath a first-round pick — the Bruins would certainly like to play a game of ‘How low can you go?’ with Buffalo’s Kevyn Adams — it’s worth considering.
Especially after losing out on Kyle Palmieri, who by all means seemed to be the perfect deadline target for the Bruins in multiple ways, to an Islander squad that’s beaten them in all five 2021 head-to-heads to date.
In fact, some consider that to be the Bruins’ next move after the Islanders opted for Palmieri over Hall.
“We believe the other team that was in on Taylor Hall was the Boston Bruins,” TSN’s Frank Seravalli said earlier this week. “Do [the Bruins] double down and now make the deal with the Buffalo Sabres or do they consider some of their other options on the board like a Mike Hoffman or do they go down further on the list to a Nick Foligno?”
The Bruins, who have a four-game point streak (3-0-1) and have a 7-2-2 record over their last 11 games, should definitely enter this final weekend of deadline season looking to make an upgrade. This team is getting Hart Trophy-level contributions from Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci are still playing at an effective level, and you’re beginning to see some solid contributions from both Craig Smith and Nick Ritchie at the same time.
Adding Hall, who has seemingly been linked to the Bruins since he was unable to fall to them with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, to that group at the right price seems like a worthwhile gamble.
But finding that right price, of course, will be the challenge between now and Monday.