The Arizona Coyotes had originally hoped to have Hall extended beyond the 2019/20 season, but general manager Bill Armstrong has decided to let the form Hart Trophy winner walk in free agency.
Hall was originally acquired by the Coyotes back in December, in a deal that saw then-general manager John Chayka send prospects Nick Merkley, Nathan Schnarr, and Kevin Bahl to the New Jersey Devils along with a conditional first-round pick (18th overall in 2020) and a conditional third-round pick in 2021.
The Devils selected Dawson Mercer with the 18th overall pick after the Coyotes progressed into the first round of the playoffs, meaning they weren’t eligible for the draft lottery and the chance of landing a top-three pick this year.
The conditions attached to the conditional third meant that if Hall re-signed OR if the Coyotes won a playoff round, then the pick would become a second-rounder. If the Coyotes had accomplished both, it would have upgraded to a first-rounder.
With Armstrong’s decision, the Coyotes accomplished neither and will only hand over a third-round pick in 2021 - meaning that fans in the desert will see the team make a selection in the second round next year after the team had to wait until the fourth round this year to make their first selection.
With a new GM at the helm, with his own vision for the team, it likely meant that the team was not willing to give up the necessary assets to clear enough cap space to re-sign Hall, who registered ten goals and 27 total points in 35 regular-season appearances since arriving in the desert.
Hall followed up his regular-season efforts with two goals and six total points in nine postseason appearances as the Coyotes reached the playoffs for the first time since 2012, knocking out the Nashville Predators in a best-of-five qualifying series.
The acquisition of Hall came with a lot of expectations and hope, but with a flurry of injuries coming almost immediately afterward, the positive feelings around the team faded as their form dropped dramatically and they only had a shot at the playoffs thanks to the NHL’s expanded 24-game format. The team’s embarrassing defeat by the Colorado Avalanche and back-to-back 7-1 losses to finish the series removed all remaining feelings.
The Arizona Coyotes attempted to trade Hall’s exclusive negotiating rights in the lead-up to the draft, but it seems that no team was willing to take what was on offer, with the possibility of speaking to Hall once free agency opens on Friday still very strong.
It was nice to have a player of Hall’s quality on the team, but it wasn’t to be for the long-term and now the former first-overall selection of the 2010 NHL Draft will negotiate a new deal with other teams around the league.