Should the Anaheim Ducks get in on the Taylor Hall Sweepstakes?

Taylor Hall #91 of the Arizona Coyotes (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Taylor Hall #91 of the Arizona Coyotes (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /
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Anaheim Ducks
Rickard Rakell #67 congratulates Jakob Silfverberg #33 of the Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Yeah But The Downside, Right?

Unfortunately, Hall comes with a laundry list of negatives that may warn the Anaheim Ducks away from looking into the high scoring forward.

Firstly, and perhaps most pertinent, the Ducks are short on the cap space that would likely be required to sign Taylor Hall. Finishing up a deal that was paying him $6 million per season, it can reasonably be expected that Hall will command a raise on this figure. With only ~$2.9 million in predicted cap space following the acquisition of David Backes, the Ducks would need to make some moves to open up space for Hall to fit into.

With many fans hoping for the trades of Adam Henrique, Josh Manson, or Jakob Silfverberg, the ability to accumulate cap space wouldn’t necessarily be tough for the Ducks to achieve. If these trades were considered alongside a trade of Rickard Rakell, the Anaheim Ducks could actually get quite young and cheap in a hurry and accrue a lot of draft capital in a hurry. It seems odd to say, but acquiring Hall to be a top-line scorer could potentially provide a lot of boons for a rebuilding team.

Of course, Hall himself would not likely be sold on joining another rebuild. Like the player himself said, it’s time for him to start winning and participating in playoff hockey more often than not.

"“I think honestly it’s probably all winning,” Hall said when asked what was important to him in a free-agent destination. “Any player at this stage in their career that’s had the career that I’ve had — 10 seasons, only making the playoffs twice — that’s really what I’m after. ” -Taylor Hall"

It would be a big ask for Murray to persuade a player craving playoff hockey to join a rebuild once again. Particularly in light of the Ducks needing to trade away their talent to fit him in. It isn’t an impossible task, and the Ducks would still have a lot of players coming into their primes, but it would likely be apparent to both parties that the Ducks would not be a cup contender for at least another three seasons.

A three-season wait for contender status may not be the end of the world for Hall given at the end of it he would only be 32 years of age and likely still a relatively productive player. It wouldn’t be out of the question for a current 0.90 point per game player to drop into the 0.60 points per game rate. The issue, and the risk, comes from the Anaheim Ducks side.

Hall is notoriously injury-stricken. In six of his ten seasons, Hall has failed to play in excess of 70 games. Although it is worth noting that three of his past five seasons have hit over that mark and that this past season he played in 65 regular-season games and nine in the postseason. Nonetheless, the biggest predictor of future injury is previous injury, and Hall has a long list of them.

The Ducks have recently been burnt by signing injury-stricken players such as Patrick Eaves, which could make them gun shy moving forward. Of course, the silver lining is that a team that has traded away some of its big names and then loses its marque player to injury is likely going to lose enough games to touch the lottery, which in its own way could help speed up a rebuild.

Though how much this would impact the Ducks at the back end of the likely long-term contract is another matter. For the next three seasons or so, the Ducks wouldn’t mind drafting early. Yet assuming that Hall’s deal would be for the maximum seven years, they would dearly love to move back into the winner’s circle in the last four years of the deal.

If Hall cannot contribute in that time frame, the Anaheim Ducks would be hamstrung with a big contract and unproductive player, just as their new youth would be hitting their straps. Certainly, some of the contracts would be mitigated by young players coming in on the ELC’s but eventually, it would become difficult to hide and the Ducks would be required to buy it out or to trade it to another team for a likely hefty cost. Again, not an impossible task, but one to consider.

Perhaps the last variable to consider is the Ducks head coach. In his time with Edmonton, he was accused of ripping apart the dressing room. Hall would have been a part of that and may not wish to revisit those memories of his own choice. Whether these allegations have truth to them is debatable for us mere mortals looking in from the outside, however, Hall’s final year under Eakins was a shocker. Eakins himself was let go. While sports are typically transient and many players and coaches cross paths time and again, the history between player and coach may prove to be a difficult hurdle to leap over.