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OTR: Hall Cost ‘Comical’. ‘Wild Wild West’ NHL Trade Deadline? | VHN+

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NHL Trade Deadline Vegas Golden Knights
PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 25: Buffalo Sabres Left Wing Taylor Hall (4) looks on during the second period in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buffalo Sabres on March 25, 2021, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire)

The NHL Trade Deadline is two weeks from Monday. The Canadian quarantine, which caused frets and worries, was reduced from 14 to seven days last week, so the hope is the floodgates will open, and we will see some action on the trade front.

There’s already plenty of NHL Trade chatter. Just like the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline, Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall is smack dab in the middle of that chatter, but some “Off the Record” sources had some stern words for the Sabres asking rice.

Will we go back to the ‘Wild Wild West’ in the West Division?

Are big changes on the horizon in Philadelphia and Boston?

That and more in the latest ‘Off The Record.’

1. Hall Asking Price ‘Comical.’

When NHL Insider Pierre LeBrun tweeted just before 5 PM ET on Friday that the opening asking price for Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall is believed to be a 2021 first-round pick, it provided some much-needed comedy for some NHL management and scouts from contending teams across the NHL. The UFA-to-be is certainly coveted by plenty of teams on the NHL Trade market. Still, skepticism regarding his attitude and character is once again casting a shadow over Hall’s value to Stanley Cup contenders. An acquiring team would only have to pay a prorated $2.8 million salary-cap hit for the 29-year-old former No. 1 draft pick, which is definitely attractive. Still, there is certainly a Proceed With Caution sign on a winger about to be on his fourth team in two seasons and the fifth in an underwhelming career.

Off The Record:

“That was comical, honestly,” said one NHL management source.  “I mean, is Kevyn for real? Does he not think we do our due diligence? The sad thing is, I could still see some sucker paying that price. Maybe a GM that’s feeling the heat to win or else. So, I guess maybe that’s what he’s thinking? But there’s a reason he’s bouncing around, and teams he’s on never win.”

2. Arms Race In West About To Commence

We’ve got Reverse Retro jerseys in the NHL this season, but could we see a retro NHL Trade market for the next two weeks leading into the NHL Trade Deadline? In the late nineties and early 2000s before the 2003-04 NHL Trade Deadline, the Detroit Red Wings, Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, San Jose Sharks, and Dallas Stars used to create a ‘Wild Wild West’ NHL Trade frenzy – and free-agent frenzy for that matter – as they’d battle it out for supremacy in an uncapped Western Conference and NHL. The Wings aren’t in the West Division this season and have since moved over to the current Eastern Conference, the Stars are in the Central Division this season, and the Sharks are obviously out of contention. However, based on recent NHL Trade chatter, one NHL scout believes the Avs, Blues, and Vegas Golden Knights could bring that retro feel to the NHL trade market in the next two weeks.

Off The Record:

“The Blues are barely hanging on, and that’s not where they expected to be right now,” the aforementioned scout said. “They still believe they can win the Cup, so Doug [Armstrong] is working the phones right now. Then you got the Avs and Knights. That’s the real arms race right there. I know neither of them has much cap space, but they know this could be their year, and I don’t see either of them sitting back.”

3. Big Changes In Philly And Boston Coming?

Two East Division teams that entered the season as teams with (Mass) mutual Stanley Cup aspirations could be facing big changes over the next two weeks heading into the NHL Trade Deadline and in the immediate aftermath of their seasons if they don’t make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Yes, the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers have been ravaged by injuries and COVID Protocol since they met in Lake Tahoe back on Feb. 21, but both teams came into this season as favorites in the East.

There have been too many nights where the leadership core of each team has not led their respective teams through the rough waters that other contenders have been able to navigate. It won’t surprise anyone if there’s major roster turnover in the offseason in Boston and Philadelphia. But what about behind the Bruins and Flyers benches and in management?

Off The Record:

“That’s not as crazy a question as you might think,” a trusted NHL source told OTR Saturday. “Let’s see what happens here at the deadline and what happens down the stretch here, but one of those teams is likely missing the playoffs, and they’ve got some serious questions to ask and answer about what direction their teams are headed in.”

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