The New Jersey Devils announced at 4:43 PM ET that they have traded former MVP LW Taylor Hall along with RW Blake Speers to the Arizona Coyotes for a package of picks and prospects. Here is the deal as reported by the team:
The New Jersey Devils today traded left wings Taylor Hall and Blake Speers to Arizona in exchange for Arizona’s first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft (top-three protected), Arizona’s third-round selection (conditional) in 2021, defenseman Kevin Bahl and forwards Nick Merkley and Nate Schnarr.
If Arizona’s 2020 first-round selection is in the top three, New Jersey will receive Arizona’s first-round pick in 2021.
The conditions on the 2021 pick are as follows: the third-round pick in 2021 becomes a second-round selection if Arizona wins a Stanley Cup Playoff round OR Taylor Hall re-signs in Arizona. The third-round pick in 2021 becomes a first-round selection if Arizona wins a Stanley Cup Playoff round AND Taylor Hall re-signs in Arizona. If neither condition happens, New Jersey still receives the 2021 third-round pick.
Bahl, 19, is a 6’7”, 230lb. left-shot defenseman who plays in Ottawa (OHL) and is currently at Team Canada’s World Junior Championships selection camp. In 28 games this season with the 67’s, Bahl has five goals and 15 assists and 43 penalty minutes. He is the only blueliner in the OHL with 20-plus points and 40 or more penalty minutes. The native of New Westminster, B.C. posted six goals and 28 assists and 34 points in 68 games played in 2018-19 and was fifth in the OHL with a +50 rating. Bahl was Arizona’s second-round selection, 55th overall in the 2018 NHL and is current Ottawa teammates with Devils draft picks, Graeme Clark, Mitchell Hoelscher, and Nikita Okhotyuk.
Merkley, 22, is a 5’10”, 195lb. right-shot center who currently plays in Tucson (AHL) and has three goals and 13 assists in 26 contests. In 2018-19, he scored 10 goals and 24 assists for 34 points in 45 games and he played in the 2017-18 AHL All-Star Game. He was Arizona’s first-round selection, 30th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Schnarr, 20, is a 6’3” 180lb. center, who currently plays in Tucson (AHL) where he has one goal and eight assists in 22 games played. Arizona’s third-round selection, 75th overall in the 2017 NHL Draft, Schnarr led Guelph (OHL) in scoring last season with 102 points (34 goals, 68 assists)- ranking seventh in scoring and third in assists in the entire Ontario Hockey League. He helped lead the Storm to the OHL Championship where he had eight goals, 11 assists for 19 points in 24 games.
A couple of quick notes/updates:
There is no extension as part of this trade. NJ retains 50 per cent.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 16, 2019
Schnarr, Merkley and Bahl are all interesting for different reasons but none will be stars. Merkley’s already a tweener, Bahl has progressed more than I expected he would, and Schnarr probably becomes a depth F with size. Devils have to hit on that first rounder.— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) December 16, 2019
A Very Quick Reaction
Of course I would’ve loved a top end prospect with future star potential in a Taylor Hall trade. With that said, it was always going to be difficult for Ray Shero to get that type of player in a return for a rental, even with a player of Hall’s caliber. My quick, initial reaction on this trade is that one the surface it seems like a fair deal for both sides. The Devils get a 1st round pick that is valuable as well as a mid round selection that could help them continue to re-stock the prospect pool or to use in a trade to improve the NHL roster down the road.
The Devils add a big, strong 19 year old defenseman in Kevin Bahl to their prospect pool that plays on a top team in the OHL and is set to represent Canada at the upcoming WJC. I’m sure the Devils are familiar with him due to already having 3 prospects on the Ottawa 67’s. I like the addition of F Nick Merkley who at 22 years old is putting up 89 points in 109 AHL games in his career. He seems like a tweener that has a chance to make the NHL sooner than later. I also think C Nate Schnarr could be an interesting prospect who is currently having limited success as a 20 year old rookie in the AHL. Time will tell but I think Shero did as well as he could’ve with the fact that Hall is a rental for the Coyotes.
I also want to wish Blake Speers success. I was a big fan of his since the draft and it looked like his future was bright when he made the Devils in 2016-17. It seems his career has regressed since that season for one reason or another. Hopefully the change of scenery is what he needs to get his career back on track.
What are your thoughts on this trade? Are you satisfied with the return that Ray Shero got for a former MVP? Is this package along the lines of what you expected? What are your thoughts on the the players that the Devils received? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading! Expect a lot more about this trade here on All About the Jersey soon as this post is a quick reaction to the breaking news.