Can the Rangers target Taylor Hall this summer
First off, there’s a lot that has to happen in order for this to even be a consideration. The Rangers need to take care of their own house before even thinking about adding another $11M player to their lineup. While rumors have it that Hall and the Arizona Coyotes feel a deal can be done, until that contract is signed he will remain the top UFA on the board come July 1.
Business at Home
Heading into the offseason the Rangers have a lot of work to do, primarily dealing with their RFA’s. This summer they need to make decisions on Alexandar Georgiev, Tony DeAngelo, Ryan Strome, and Brendan Lemieux. They will have about $15M to take care of that, and it drops to $14M if you add Vitali Kravtsov and a young d-man making about 800-925K. Simply put, not enough.
Hard decisions will need to be made, starting with Henrik Lundqvist. Should he retire that would give the Rangers 8.5 back to the cap and increase the number to 22.5M. Then the clearing would need to continue if they want to keep Strome here or just flat out replace him with Hall.
A buyout of Brendan Smith would be your next likely scenario and that gives them another 1.5M this season. The unlikely buyout of Marc Staal is 2.1M, but maybe asking him to waive and then trade with a 50% retain, makes it 2.6M. If the Rangers were to have Hank retire, buyout Smith, and trade Staal that means cap space of almost 26M, and the flexibility to sign all their RFA’s and go after the big fish.
What Taylor Hall Brings
Hall who can play center and left wing, would be most beneficial to the Rangers in the middle. He turns 29 next November and will command a full 7 years. However, his desire to play for a contender in a big city could play to the Rangers advantage. Does that mean a little less money? Will he not demand a full no trade? Remember the Rangers can front load any deal to entice a player of Hall’s caliber.
Offensively he has struggled this season with just 50 points in 62 games playing in NJ and Arizona. Hard to get excited going from the swamp to the desert after playing so many years in the frozen tundra of Edmonton. Still this a player barely two seasons removed from winning the Hart trophy with 93 points. He has the size and skill that are hard to come by in this league, and would instantly take this Rangers team into serious contention territory.
Improbable but not Impossible
When it comes to the likelihood of this happening one has to admit that it is improbable. At the same time, it doesn’t mean it isn’t impossible. I recall the same things were being said when Kevin Shattenkirk hit the UFA market. Many will recall that Artemi Panarin was headed to Florida for sure, or maybe even the Islanders but the Rangers? Nope said many insiders. The Rangers were also hard pressed for cap money last summer too but they made it work, why not figure it out again this summer? I’ve laid out how, now it is just a matter of where the team feels they are going forward.