Buffalo Sabers striker Taylor Hall will not play against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night, according to interim head coach Don Granato.
The 29-year-old Hall is expected to be among the top strikers available ahead of the NHL’s last trading date, which ends at 4 pm PT on April 12. But the one-year, $ 8 million contract he signed as a free agent off season includes a full inactivity clause that gives him some control over his next destination.
“It’s just part of it. It’s part of the job,” Granato said, according to Mike Harrington. Buffalo News. “We all know that. Taylor knows this. This game is holding you right now, and this is preparation for New Jersey. We had a good meeting about them this morning and our focal points and goals will come into play. So there is enough, enough intensity to keep you focused on where you need to be. .
Due to the partial injury of Captain Jack Eichel and No.1 goalkeeper Linus Ullmark, Sabres bottomed out with an 18-game no-win streak that covered most of March, effectively ending his chances of returning to the playoffs in the deep Eastern Division. As a result, rumors surfaced that the team was selling on a number of fronts, and it has already moved senior center Eric Staal to Montreal Canadiens.
A trade for Hall, a former Hart Trophy winner, will be complicated by both his contract and his struggles this season. The first general election in 2010 has not proved itself in any way with his third team in two seasons and currently only has two goals and 19 points in 37 games. This, along with the career-worst minus-21 rating, which is equal for the worst total among all strikers this season, makes this the least productive campaign of his 11-year career.
Still, as an elite winger, the pedigree will likely attract suitors by next week’s deadline. New York Islanders who lost Captain Anders Lee to a seasonal injury, St. Louis Blues, Florida Panthers, and Boston Bruins were attached to the Hall. Toronto Maple Leaves are also said to be looking for another forward, although getting a paycheck to match is tough.
Ironically, the Devils team that Buffalo visited on Tuesday is in a similar situation to their own striker winger Kyle Palmieri. According to his agent, the 30-year-old suffered a Sunday defeat against Washington Capitals “in anticipation of a trade” and is not expected to play on Tuesday night while participating in the skate race Tuesday morning.