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There's been a lot made about the negotiations – or a lack thereof – between Taylor Hall and the New Jersey Devils to date. Understandably so.
Hall is a former Hart Trophy winner currently in the prime of his career. He's mustered up 130 points in 109 regular season games over the last two seasons despite playing for a team that struggles to score.
He is a high, high-end player. Whenever there's even a remote chance one will hit the open market, it's always a big story with a lot of noise around it.
While I am not as concerned as most about the lack of movement – if Hall sees what he wants to see this season (meaningful progress, which is possible if not likely), he'll probably stay – I also don't think him leaving would be as devastating as the consensus.
Is re-signing Hall important? Absolutely. Is re-signing Hall imperative to the future of the team? I wouldn't say that.
As much as I love Hall, he'll turn 29 about a month into the first season of what would be an eight-year contract. He'll be exiting his prime and starting a decline from the get go – although it could take years before we see a *big* dip. He'll also be carrying a cap hit in the $11-12 million range.
If we're speaking realistically, the Devils are probably a couple years away from truly contending. By that point, I don't think Hall will be the best player on the team. At the very least it'll be debatable, with Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes firmly in the mix.
Though re-signing Hall would help ensure the team's window opens sooner than later, I don't think it has as much to do with keeping it open.
Hischier, Hughes, Ty Smith, the Jespers, and co. will make up the core when the Devils are truly in the mix on an annual basis.
If we reach a point next season where the Devils *have* to trade Hall, and can bring in multiple high-end young players/prospects/draft picks to add to the core group, that *could* be a better outcome when looking a few years down the road.
Put another way, it's possible the A-level prospects Hall would fetch in a trade are more valuable to the team in, say, years three through eight (31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36) than Hall would be.
I'm not at all suggesting the Devils should be looking to trade Hall. Retaining him would help the Devils contend sooner, and it would also be a win for a fanbase that is used to seeing its star players walk away.
I'm just of the opinion that, if it comes to it, losing Hall – via trade, that is – wouldn't be as catastrophic as it'd seem.
The Devils should extend Nico Hischier sooner than later
On the signing of Wayne Simmonds
Damon Severson isn't going anywhere
Reviewing the Devils' 2019 draft class
New Jersey Devils acquire P.K. Subban
New Jersey Devils select Jack Hughes with 1st overall pick
The Jack Hughes blog™