Edmonton

Taylor Hall at centre of trade rumours in New York, sportswriter says

Sports writer Jimmy Murphy says he's been tipped off that the Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders are in talks about a possible trade.

Chiarelli 'has a stable of forwards and ... an empty stable of defenceman'

Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall speaks to reporters during the Edmonton Oilers' end-of-the-year press conference in Edmonton, Alta., on April 10. Will he be around to start the 2016/2017 season? (Codie McLachlan/The Canadian Press)

With the NHL draft just two days away, the trade rumours are swirling around the Edmonton Oilers.

Boston-based sportswriter Jimmy Murphy has covered the Bruins for 13, hosted his own show on Sirius XM NHL Network for nine years and worked in hockey hot bed markets like Montreal, Boston, and New York.

He says his sources around the league tell him the Oilers are open for business and that there's only one untouchable player on the current squad.

Hall, Travis Hamonic, and Johnny Boychuk were mentioned- Sportswriter Jimmy Murphy

"I think anyone is attainable on the Edmonton Oilers right now except for Connor McDavid at this point," Murphy said.  

After missing the playoffs for the 10th straight season, he's probably right.

The current Oiler regime is heading into a brand new building and needs to find a way to turn the franchise around. 

Murphy feels the team's current general manager Peter Chiarelli knows what he needs and it's just a matter of finding it.

"What I grew to know of Peter Chiarelli when I covered him from the 2007-2008 season until he left is that Peter is a very smart man.

"I think that Peter knows if he wants to revamp that defence quickly, he's going to have to part with some guys he wouldn't necessarily want to part with," Murphy said.

According to Murphy one of those players could include the team's 2010 first-overall draft pick, Taylor Hall.

Tipped off by 3 sources

"I was tipped off by three sources, one of them being in New York, and one of them being in Edmonton, and another one being somewhere else that I won't mention, that something is going on," he said. 

"They're talking about Taylor Hall and that Hall, Travis Hamonic, and Johnny Boychuk were mentioned in the discussions.

"Does this mean that those guys are specifically going in any potential trades? No. There's just serious trade discussions going on."

So where there's smoke, there's fire?

"I don't know if there's fire, but let's call it charcoal burning on the grill.

"I know there's plenty of GMs calling Peter right now saying, "Look, you've got a stable of forwards, and you've got an empty stable of defence man right now'.

"He needs to revamp that D, and he knows people in Edmonton have waited a long time for these picks to come to fruition."

If Hall is part of trade discussions, he certainly isn't aware of it, and neither is his agent Jeff Jackson.  

Hall is represented by Orr Hockey, and Jackson says his client knows the team needs to turn things around but he is busy getting ready for next season where ever that might be.

"There's always a lot of rumours around draft time, around free agency time; people trying to make deals, make a splash getting their teams ready for next season and right now Taylor's name is one of the name's that's prominent," said Jackson who is getting ready to head down to Buffalo for the NHL entry draft.

Hall preparing for season

But Jackson and Hall aren't naive either. They know the team's defensive depth needs to be addressed and the only way that is going to happen involves trading one or more of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov. 

"He's not expected to get traded, but if he does, it's part of the game, and like I said before he's preparing himself for the season," Jackson said.

It's certainly trade talk that has a fan base buzzing just two days before the 2016 NHL entry draft.  

Murphy feels the current regime has had a year to assess what changes need to be made, and that some of those changes will be apparent in the coming days.

"Changes need to be made, and that's why I think Peter Chiarelli is a great guy for the Edmonton Oilers to have right now as these changes are being attempted because he doesn't have an emotional attachment to those guys.

"He didn't draft these guys, he didn't put all his faith in these guys like the previous regime did.

"That's the cutoff right there, and that's what I think was preventing the previous regime from being open to potential deals."

The 2016 NHL entry draft kicks off on Friday night in Buffalo, New York.

Min.Dhariwal@cbc.ca

@mindhariwal

now