It must have been an unusual return flight to Newark for Taylor Hall.
After being held out of the game on Friday in Colorado and Saturday in Arizona while trade rumors swirled around him, Hall was on the night flight home with the New Jersey Devils.
The team was supposed to hold its annual Christmas party on Sunday and for the time being Hall is still part of the team. But that can change at any time.
Devils Director General Ray Shero tries to negotiate with him before the freeze on the NHL roster comes into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday and some rival leaders believe that his decision to keep Hall out of the lineup over the weekend was made to build a stronger retail market.
Of course, it's also a preventative measure to protect the 28-year-old winger from possible injuries – something that NHL teams typically deal with upcoming free agents the week before close of trading, but rarely, if ever, to this one Time of season.
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You have to imagine that Hall already played his last game for the Devils, but we're here in unknown waters. This is why the future of the Hart Trophy winner 2018 is so exciting.
The hall is purchased for rental for the rest of the season and is not believed to speak of an extension as part of a trade. This is a key factor in negotiating returns. Some of the interested teams would also need to make room to accommodate the remainder of his $ 6 million contract this season.
The big "what if?" That's what New Jersey does when the deals don't improve.
Some who were close to the situation expected Hall to be treated over the weekend, but this had not happened on Sunday afternoon. The Devils only play again on Wednesday and operate in the shadow of the holiday freeze.
How for Halle?
He can only bear the uncomfortable wait.
Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman talk to a lot of people in the hockey world and then tell the audience everything about what they heard and what they think about it.
An interesting headline nugget by Elliotte Friedman that the Edmonton Oilers are preparing to begin contract negotiations with the upcoming free agent Zack Kassian.
For starters, it tells us how the organization feels about a player who has reinvented himself since arriving from Montreal after a break in the NHL / NHLPA drug abuse program in December 2015.
But it also gives an insight into how they plan to prepare for a low season in which up to 10 current Oilers could become free agents. The list includes Cassians and striker colleagues such as Sam Gagner, Riley Sheahan, Markus Granlund, Josh Archibald, Gaetan Haas, Joakim Nygard and Patrick Russell.
On the one hand, this squad uncertainty offers the Oilers the opportunity to restore their front depth under the stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. The organization is also challenged by restrictions on the upper salary limit.
Therefore, it may make sense to lock up some well-known pieces long before July 1st.
After receiving a second $ 2.65 million bonus payment from the Los Angeles Kings, Ilya Kovalchuk hopes he can play again.
Kovalchuk has been an exercise player since early November, and his agent, J.P. Barry, plans to contact King's management in the coming days to find a way forward.
His contract now looks less arduous – with just over $ 400,000 for the rest of the season and $ 4.25 million for the next – and there are a few potential results here.
Assuming that the kings have no plans to reinstate Kovalchuk in their lineup, the retail market could open somewhat (with Los Angeles retaining up to 50 percent of its $ 6.25 million cap success) – although interest was limited at this point, I tested it beforehand. Failing that, Kovalchuk could leave the team and terminate the rest of his contract, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Of course, the 36-year-old winger could continue to practice and travel with the kings while collecting the money he owed.
However, Kovalchuk still believes that he can help a team aggressively. He is not yet ready to retire.
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David Amber threw a challenge for Friedge and me in a quiet moment on Saturday evening: Count how many Hockey Hall of Famers are currently playing in the NHL.
These are players who would conquer the hall even if they never played another game. Some of the young stars whose careers are on a hallway path have been eliminated.
After extensive discussions, we made a list of 15.
How many players do you think fit the bill?
It's Pasta SZN. Two more goals on Saturday brought David Pastrnak's total to 34 in 34 games – a good pace to break the 50-goal mark he is targeting. Even though the Boston Bruins winger and his 20.9 shot percentage showed some regression … Anthony Duclair, an upcoming restricted free agent for the Ottawa senators, has found an excellent position in his fifth NHL team. He has scored 18 goals, two of which are the best of his career … Rasmus Sandin's ability to represent Sweden in the upcoming Junior World Cup is now related to the severity of Tyson Barrie's ankle injury. The Toronto Maple Leafs are considering whether the 19-year-old defender should be released after a Barrie shot in Edmonton to the national team. Did you see the Lizzo opening of the Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday? It was fantastic.
The stars are out tonight and @Lizzo is getting you going for a few Saturday night hockey games. pic.twitter.com/od0NRzmMDu
– Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 15, 2019