From The Ice

Dreger: Oilers’ brass told me Hall close to untouchable

20 March 2016: Taylor Hall #4 of the Edmonton Oilers in action during the Colorado Avalanche game versus the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta. (Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire)
(Curtis Comeau /Icon Sportswire)

Darren Dreger was on Montreal’s TSN 690 on Tuesday morning.

On what it means specifically when the Edmonton Oilers talk about ‘culture change’ for this off-season:

“Well, I think they’re going to move a good piece, a big piece, maybe more than that. There’s always been the rumblings of Jordan Eberle, and those kind of settled over the course of this season, particularly during that stretch where he was magical with Connor McDavid. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins then became the more popular target.

“There have been whispers all along of the potential of, say, Taylor Hall. For me, that’s a stretch. I know when I suggested Taylor Hall to be part of the problem – I think it was early last season, or just prior to the start of the season after Dallas Eakins and everyone got pushed out of there – there was just a groundswell of reaction to that. Many powerful people around Taylor Hall came to his defense.

“I think that for the most part he had a real good year. Things tailed off for him in the second half. But when I approached the Edmonton Oilers near the trade deadline  – and we’re talking about not just Peter Chiarelli, but those above him – and asked, ‘Okay, we’re putting this list together going into deadline day. We know about Eberle. We know about the possibility of Nugent-Hopkins,’ even though there was injury in play at that point. ‘Is it conceivable that Taylor Hall could be a moveable piece, if not at the deadline, then perhaps at the summer.’

“And the message that I got back was, ‘Look. There’s one untouchable and his name is Connor McDavid. The next on that list is Taylor Hall being close to untouchable.’

“So it falls into the old game of, ‘What’s it going to take?’ It would take a monstrous type of deal. So we can’t say that he’s untouchable, but he’s close to being untouchable.

“But I do believe one of those bigger pieces is going to get moved.”

Source: TSN 690/ Transcript: Nichols

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