The pitch has become a bit more problematic these days.
When the Arizona Coyotes traded for Taylor Hall and his expiring contract in December, general manager John Chayka knew there was no guarantee that the pending free agent would stay beyond the season. But Chayka also knew that the odds of retaining Hall increased with every game that the team won.
The Coyotes were betting that Hall would make them better. But they were also betting on themselves.
Make the playoffs and win a round or two — something that Hall had never done in his career — and the 28-year-old might think twice about leaving in the off-season. Go all the way and win a Cup and Hall might just be a Coyote for life.
“That was our bet when we acquired Taylor,” Chayka told NHL.com on Wednesday. “He always wanted to be in a playoff hunt and have a chance to compete for a Stanley Cup.”
But then the coronavirus hit. And for the Coyotes, it hit at the worst possible time.
If the season is done — and it’s looking more and more like that is a realistic possibility — then Arizona’s chances of keeping Hall beyond this year appear to be over as well.