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Sport GM Ken Holland on Oilers' trade strategy: I won't deal a 'first for a rental'

03:55  10 april  2021
03:55  10 april  2021 Source:   prohockeyrumors.com

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When the Edmonton Oilers put Kyle Turris on waivers on Friday, speculation immediately sparked up that the team was preparing to go after one of the bigger names available at the trade deadline. The Oilers can bury part of Turris’ cap hit by moving him to the taxi squad, and with Oscar Klefbom on long-term injured reserve, they have a bit of flexibility. Immediately, the thought of Taylor Hall returning to Edmonton popped into many minds, but if the Buffalo Sabres are holding out for a first-round pick, the struggling forward won’t be coming to the Oilers.

Zack Kassian, Dave Tippett are posing for a picture: Oilers head coach Dave Tippett  © Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports Oilers head coach Dave Tippett

Edmonton GM Ken Holland spoke with reporters and was clear about his limits, saying, "I’m not going to trade a first for a rental. Maybe if the player had some term, I’d be open to it."

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By a first, Holland is referring to a first-round draft pick, something he isn’t willing to move for a player on an expiring contract. That would include Hall, who signed a one-year $8M deal with the Sabres in a unique offseason. According to previous reports, Buffalo GM Kevyn Adams has been looking for a first in any discussions on the enigmatic winger, but that is certainly not guaranteed at this point.

The New Jersey Devils did recently secure a first-round pick in trade, but that was for both Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac. They had to retain salary on both players as well, making them cost a combined $5.2M against the cap for the New York Islanders. Even if the Sabres were to retain half of Hall’s deal, he’d still come in at $4M for the Oilers or whoever acquires him before Monday’s deadline.

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  Top Five Trade Destinations for Taylor Hall Despite enduring a nightmarish season, Hall boasts more upside than any other available forward. Which teams might pursue him before the deadline? © Provided by Hockey News on Sports Illustrated Nobody expected it to play out quite like this, right? Sure, when Taylor Hall signed a surprising one-year, $8-million contract last off-season to play for the Buffalo Sabres, who had missed nine straight post-seasons, the range of outcomes for his 2020-21 season was wide.

There are other rentals potentially out there as well, but it’s not clear exactly how many of them would fetch a first in a normal year, let alone this one that seems to have a heavy buyers’ market. Mike Hoffman, Nick Foligno and Scott Laughton are all good players, but it would be hard to justify handing over a first-round pick — especially when they would have to quarantine for at least a week before joining the Oilers north of the border.

The interesting thought is whether Holland — who also said the art of the deadline is just like poker — is speaking truthfully or attempting to bluff his way into a lower asking price in some negotiation. Giving that information publicly wasn’t needed and should draw even more eyeballs to the Oilers as a team to watch over the next 72 hours.

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