I actually can’t believe I am penning this article. I have a hard time believing that I am saying this out loud. It is time to look at trading Taylor Hall. There are 100 arguments against trading him. I understand that, I can make most of them convincingly. But, there is one very, very strong one for trading him: he would net us the greatest return. The pieces that the Oilers need are so drastic and vital, that the only way the Oilers are going to fill those needs is by making bold moves. Bold.
I am not saying he is a cancer and I am not saying that he is a dressing room problem. I am not saying that he isn’t our best player. I am saying none of those things. What I am saying is that no team that has ever won anything was built around a star winger. The last 10 Cup Champions have had:
a) Timely goaltending
b) A solid defense corps
c) Center depth
You just don’t build from the wing in. Can’t trade Hall??? Gretzky, Messier, Jagr and Ron Francis were all traded, so why not him? Jagr, one of the greatest players of our generation has played for a staggering 7 hockey teams. You know why? Because wingers just aren’t as valuable as steady goaltenders, minute-munching defensemen and big centers. They just aren’t.
He is also the one player that could be dealt from a position of strength, because as one of the top scoring wingers in the game, he would be highly sought after. I don’t think that you trade him for just any deal, or for a large package of random stuff, but let’s spitball some random moves that would make sense for both sides and aren’t video game trades:
ARI trades Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Martin Hanzal to EDM for Taylor Hall, Justin Schultz, Martin Marincin, PITT’s 2015 1st round pick. I’m nuts, you say? How can we give up so much? OEL is one of the game’s premier young defensemen. He would cost a pretty penny – this deal might not even be enough for them to let him go. Addresses two needs (a top-pairing D man and a giant center) while giving from the parts of the cupboard which are most full: scoring wingers and young defensemen. I don’t need to wait for 5 years for the D man we draft at 14-17 to pan out.
TOR trades James Van Riemsdyk, Dion Phaneuf and TOR’s 2016 1st round pick to Edmonton for Taylor Hall. I literally just made this one up off the top of my head and again, it addresses two needs by giving up one asset. I am not saying by any stretch of the imagination that Phaneuf is a number 1. But, this gives the Oilers depth in two woefully thin positions. The 2016 first is likely far-fetched, but I thought I would make this one weighed in Edmonton’s favour.
CAR trades Jordan and Eric Staal along with Cam Ward to EDM for Taylor Hall, Ben Scrivens and 2015 EDM 2nd round pick. Solves the C problem and strengthens the G position. Still leaves work to do but buys Broissoit one more year of AHL experience.
Just spitballin’ here.