The draft is still 18 days away, but a flood of information is coming in from all directions it seems already. Darren Pang is now Chris Vosters' partner on the game call, Connor Bedard has interviewed with the Hawks at the combine, and the Canucks' perceived cap dump train apparently can't be stopped.
I'm here to stop it though. I took a deep look into all of the contracts in the NHL above 4m AAV for teams in cap relief need. I judged the teams' Stanley Cup window as a major factor in this. Something I don't think alot of casual fans or even veteran media are doing to be honest. Take the Vancouver Canucks for one, a team that has just one 40 win season in the last 8 years. Yet, they are "desperate" to shed themselves of Brock Boeser, Conor Garland, and Tyler Myers so much so that they'll just give away all these high picks to resign Elias Pettersson (which one lol)?
No, to me, it's not something they will consider. For one, that #11 pick is more like a pick at #5,#6, or #7 in most drafts. They are going to get a fantastic prospect at that spot. Secondly, despite not being a relevant team since the 2014-2015 season, they have young stars that can and should keep as their core players. The aforementioned Petterson, Quinn Hughes, and Andrei Kuzmenko form a young trio of star players any team could start a franchise with. Prospect wingers like Aatu Raty and Jonathan Lekkerimaki lead an underwhelming prospect pool as well, even more reason to not "give away" such valuable assets such as the #11 pick.
Brock Boeser and Conor Garland are young and in their prime forwards that accounted for over a 100pts and 35 goals this year. They aren't on albatross deals either that go for years and years. Tyler Myers is a veteran NHL D in his final year of a 6m deal. If anything, he'd be the player I'd look to move for cap relief. That should cost a future 2nd most likely and a sweetner pick. Boeser and Garland could quickly go from "get rid of them" to "what can we get FOR them" with 1/2 of a good season after all. So let's put this Canucks talk to bed or at least to rest...
Let's instead talk about the player that I see as the perfect fit: Boston Bruins left wing Taylor Hall. After resigning David Pastrnak to a monster deal and still carrying veteran contracts on the roster, it appears Hall could be on his way out. To me, with 2 years left at a 6m cap hit left, the 31 year old is now the most likely candidate to provide cap relief for the Presidents' Trophy Bruins.
Hall consistently was on the Bruins' third line and had his worst statistical year with just 36 points. He did however play his best in the playoffs with 5 goals in the 7 game series against the Panthers. This is a former #1 overall (in set picture) pick that plays a position we need. He has the skill, experience, and mental fortitude needed on a young team with an incoming #1 overall Connor Bedard.
Whom better to talk to for Connor Bedard than a former #1 overall that has been through it all right?
If you recall, the 2010 draft was all about the Tyler Seguin or Taylor Hall drama. In the end the narrative really came down to Tyler Seguin is a risk off the ice, but likely the more talented player. Taylor Hall was selected and he has had an up and down career since then when you consider the trades and his most resent season (statistically speaking). With a 2018 Hart Trophy in his cabinet, Taylor Hall has the skill and talent to be a perfect fit to pair for Connor Bedard. He should also, coming off of a down year, have us acquire an asset with the acquisition.
With Bostons' all in approach of late, I'm looking to their 2025 3rd and their 2026 2nd round picks as compensation to take on Taylor Hall's final 2 years (6m cap hits, actually money is higher). This would not only restock picks well into the future, it could be in years that the Boston Bruins are in a rebuild perhaps. It provides a 32 and 33 year old Hall that would likely be in the Blackhawks' top 6 and hopefully see him return to his normal stat line of just below a point per game winger.
If his game does get to where I anticipate, playing with Connor Bedard, then we could also see the Blackhawks trade him in a year and half as a 50% retained 3m cap hit top 6 veteran winger. That should net us at least another 2nd round pick.
So let's table all the Canucks talk for now... Let's focus on Taylor Hall. Get this done Kyle!