Considered the big piece in the Hall deal, if Bahl pans out as the hard-hitting defensive defenseman he’s projected to be, then this deal will get even more lopsided.
Bahl is left-handed, meaning he plays on the right side. In terms of their prospect pool, the Devils aren’t in much need of a right-handed defenseman. They’ve got Dougie, Luke Hughes, and Shakir Mukhamadullin, expected to slot in there at one point down the road, but there is no such as too many prospects.
At the end of last season, Bahl came up for the final seven games, and the 6’6 monster was as advertised. The big man delivered the 2nd most hits over that stretch with 18 hits as only Nate Bastian had more.
Currently, in Utica, Bahl has the fifth-best +/- differential in the league. Yes, I understand it’s an outdated stat, but the AHL website doesn’t offer other stats like time on ice or hits. Long story short, if the Devils ever want to become cup contenders, they need to get heavier and more physical, and Bahl helps them do that.
Trade Grade: A+
Nobody ever likes seeing one of their favorite players get shipped out, especially one that single-handedly carried them to their only playoff appearance in the last decade. Then again, it was obvious Hall didn’t want to be a Devil and with his deal expiring, trading him was the only option.
At the time, the trade felt like a huge loss, but as time has gone on, it has a similar feel to the Kovalchuk situation. It stung at the time because they lost an elite talent. Now, however, seeing Hall isn’t the same player he was during his MVP season, they lucked out. They also saved a ton of cap space and sped up their rebuild by using the assets from the trade to get Mercer and Siegenthaler.