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NHL Insider Not Convinced Hall’s First Choice Was Sabres in Free Agency

Most of the talk over the past 24-48 hours in the NHL has revolved around Alex Pietrangelo and Taylor Hall. Interestingly enough, in both cases, the story surrounding the players involves each taking their time, choosing their landing spots and finding new homes for the upcoming 2020-21 NHL season. One landed a long-term deal, other chose short-term and it’s the short-term deal that has people looking at things a little more closely.

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For Pietrangelo, he’s going to be with Vegas for some time. He’s got a no-move, no-trade clause for seven seasons and his contract was constructed in such a way that the Golden Knights are going to have a hard time moving the player, even if they want to. In Buffalo, Hall has left his options open. He did work in a no-trade and no-move clause, but the belief is that he did so in an effort to control his future.

Sportsnet insider Chris Johnston recently appeared on The Steve Dangle podcast and talked about Hall’s decision to go to the Buffalo Sabres. He admitted that the Sabres likely looked attractive when Hall sees Jack Eichel as an option as his center and the ability to play under coach Ralph Kreuger, who he respects immensely. But, Chris Johnston doesn’t necessarily believe the Sabres were Hall’s first choice.

Hall was said to have been offered a one or two-year deal with Buffalo and chose one year. Yes, Hall has said he could see himself staying and he’s said nice things about what the Sabres have under the hood in terms of talent and elite players, but Johnston believes that had Hall had his way, he’d have wound up somewhere else.

Hall Wants to Go to the Oilers

According to Johnston, “I think he’s going to go back to Edmonton one day.” He added, “In a perfect world, I think he would have liked to go to Edmonton now but the Oilers just don’t have the cap space.”

Taylor Hall Arizona Coyotes
Taylor Hall Arizona Coyotes

There’s been talk for years that Hall and Edmonton might, one day, reunite. Despite all the chatter, nothing has happened. This offseason, speculation was that the money situation simply made a conversation about him joining the team a moot point. But, Edmonton’s money situation won’t be tight forever.

Interestingly, the Oilers will have a ton of cap room next season. They’ll have Alex Chiasson’s, Adam Larsson’s and Kris Russel’s deals coming off the books. They’ll shake free from player buyouts and dead salary and they’ll have young talented prospects making an impact on on value deals. The environment to add a player like Hall is, kind of, perfect.

Oh, and if playing with a star player was what attracted Hall to Buffalo… the Oilers happen to have one of those too. In fact, they have two.

Again, this talk has gone on for a long time so it’s best to call this nothing more than a rumor until it actually happens. Don’t think the media won’t be talking about it though. And, depending on how Hall performs out of the gate, they could be talking about it a lot.

Next: Barrie Says McDavid Called With a Message About Joining the Oilers

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