Hockey analytics pioneer Rob Vollman is ESPN Insider's armchair GM this season, exploring how modern statistics can inform front-office decisions.
Taylor Hall is a 23-year-old, possession-driving, offensive powerhouse and a game-changing talent whose playmaking and power play prowess down the left side are almost without peer. For the Edmonton Oilers to trade him would be sheer madness -- even for a team that admittedly should start embracing off-the-board ideas such as that. While virtually every other team should be interested in acquiring Hall, very few have the available players that would make the deal truly worthwhile for the Oilers.
There's a big difference between players such as Hall and scoring-line wingers who currently appear to be comparable at a superficial level, such as Thomas Vanek, Jarome Iginla, and James Neal, for example. Hockey analytics can help find those distinctions and demonstrate why, while it might occasionally make sense to exchange the latter players, Edmonton's young star is far too valuable to exchange for anything other than a comparable talent.
The problem is most teams hold on to such game-changing players, meaning if Hall is dealt, it will likely be for two or more lesser players -- much like when Tyler Seguin was traded to Dallas. In other words, Hall will be wasted in a trade for players who can typically be acquired without sacrificing a potential franchise player.
Let's explore what exactly Hall brings to the table and some potential deals that could make sense, as well as the final reason the Oilers would be insane to trade him away.