Hall trade: It is based on Hope


Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli admitted the Edmonton Oilers traded away the best player in today’s Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson deal.

“That’s a fair comment, if you look at just what they’ve accomplished so far in the league,” said Chiarelli. “Larsson doesn’t have the same pedigree yet, but I believe in him a lot. He moves the puck quickly. He’s very smart,” continued Chiarelli.

He must like him a lot to trade the league’s third best left winger, behind Jamie Benn and Alex Ovechkin, and there is no denying Chiarelli took a big risk.

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Some call this a Bold move, but I’d rather not use that word considering its past history to the Oilers and transactions. I call it a move of Hope.

Here are my thoughts on the trade.

  • I’m not stunned Hall was traded, I sense the organization didn’t like him, which is idiotic, but I’m surprised this was the return. Proven RD are rare commodities, but so are forwards who can drive the play themselves. Larsson has steadily improved, but at this point he isn’t a proven top-pairing defender. He is tracking to be one, but proven and projection are very different at the NHL level. Hall is clearly the better player. Oilers lost this trade.
  • Chiarelli is hoping Larsson continues to develop and becomes a steady top-pairing D-man. He will never be flashy, and the best-case scenario I can see would be Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Vlasic doesn’t get a lot of attention, but he’s an excellent defender. And everyone knows the Oilers need D-men who can defend. If Larsson becomes Vlasic Chiarelli will be applauded mightily.
  • Vlasic might even be too high of a comparable because Larsson has played a total of 51:40 on the PP over the past four seasons. He plays mainly EV and SH. In 2014/2015 he did manage 24 EV/SH points, which was tied for 27th most among NHL defenders. Vlasic has predominately been a 20-25 point defender, but he has had a 36 and 39-point seasons.
  • The most interesting stat I uncovered about Larsson wasn’t even about him. During his rookie season he played 106:45 on the PP. As mentioned above he’s only played 51:40 on PP since. Mark Fayne led the Devils in PP minutes that year playing 123 minutes. The Devils blueline PP options in 2012/2013 were not great.
  • Maybe Larsson becomes Niklas Hjarlmarsson. An excellent defender, who only plays EV and SH and doesn’t produce many points. He’d still be a valuable asset. Ask Hawks fans how important Hjalmarsson was on their Cup winning teams? Just remember if he maxes out as Hjalmarsson, don’t be upset at Larsson. He didn’t make the trade. He should not be compared to Hall, even though they were traded for one another.
  • Don’t expect many points from Larsson and your chances of being not disappointed will be much better. “He logs a lot of minutes. He can match up against the top players. He has more offence to give,” said Chiarelli. The last line is very true.
  • Larsson will have a better chance to produce at EV with the Oilers because he’ll be passing to McDavid, Draisaitl, RNH and Eberle. McDavid could get him four or five assists from below the hashmarks in the defensive zone. Larsson does move the puck quickly, and that could be one of his biggest assets to the Oilers. However, very few D-men put up a lot of points in Edmonton with Hall and Eberle producing the 24th and 25th most points in the NHL the past five seasons. You need to have some good offensive instincts to be a point-producing defender. Larsson hasn’t shown much offensive creativity to this point.
  • I heard many suggest Chiarelli was trading from a position of weakness because everyone knew he needed a RD. Weren’t the Devils in the same position, looking for a proven offensive player? Chiarelli chose to make this trade, because he recognized the need to improve defensively. It was a risk, but I don’t buy the notion he was the only one in a position of weakness.
  • I don’t agree with the suggestion Chiarelli had to address the blueline and because of Connor McDavid and the other forwards sacrificing Hall to improve the D corps was a necessity. It is true they needed to improve the blueline, but this was a very risky move. I’m not sure he had to make it now, but I understand the urgency to improve his blueline instead of doing nothing, but replacing Hall will not be easy. I’d say it will be almost impossible to find a left-winger who can drive a line like Hall.
  • Hall can drive his own line. He doesn’t need to play with McDavid to produce points or create scoring chances. Milan Lucic (who we expect will sign a contract on Friday) offers a unique skillset, but he’s not a driver of a line. He’ll likely play with McDavid, and have success, but Hall’s departure means Leon Draisaitl or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will have to drive the second line. Maybe they are ready, but again, that is based on hope, not a guarantee like Hall.
  • The Oilers would likely have improved next year even if this trade didn’t happen. A healthy Connor McDavid and Oscar Klefbom will make them much better next year. Adding Jesse Puljujarvi gives them better depth on the RW. Darnell Nurse will be improved and if Brandon Davidson stays healthy all year and plays the same as last season they are automatically better.
  • Larsson is in a much better position coming to Edmonton than Hall was six years ago. Larsson will have many more competent players around him. If he just plays to his strengths, and gets sheltered if, or when, needed he should be okay.
  • Hall played hard when he was here. He showed up. The organization wanted him to be the saviour, but they never protected him or surrounded him with quality players, especially on the blueline. I still don’t understand those who felt Hall was the problem. Some people just want to blame someone I guess, and instead of pointing the finger at incompetent management they incorrectly pointed to Hall. Hall was devastated when he heard the news. He wanted to be here. He finally saw some light at the end of the dark tunnel, but he’ll have to taste success elsewhere. I expect Hall to have great success in New Jersey. He produced points on a bad team, in a tough conference, and while the Devils aren’t a great team, they have an excellent goalie and they play in a weaker conference. I won’t be surprised to see him in the top-ten in scoring again.
  • Chiarelli will need to make some other astute moves to avoid this dealing backfiring on him. I’d be surprised if this trade is ever looked at as even equal, but if Chiarelli makes some other moves and this team becomes a playoff team the deal could be looked at differently by some. I see it purely as a Hope trade. Chiarelli is hoping Larsson becomes the solid top-pairing defender he believes he is. I can appreciate his yearning to improve his blueline, but, man, this was a risky move.
  • What stood out most for me in Chiarelli’s presser about the trade was his comment about needing to find a PP D-man. Jason Demers is not that guy. He has 41 career PP points in seven seasons. His career high came in his rookie season when he tallied 11 points on the PP. Does he have another trade up his sleeve? Can he afford to “lose” another trade, and still improve the team?
  • Darren Dreger mentioned on radio Lucic might be getting a seven-year deal from the Oilers. Yikes. If you thought people were angry today, wait until Friday if a seven year deal is announced.
NHL History: Edmonton Oilers draft Ryan Smyth, Jason Bonsignore 26 years ago today

Recently by Jason Gregor:   

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    • Jason Gregor

      Yes, Hall’s $6 mill cap hit is so terrible. And the massive savings of $1.8 million (Larsson has $4.2 mill cap hit) is what made it necessary. Nope.

      • Am I right?

        I can understand the average fan denying cap concerns, but you should know better. We have already used some of our rookie bonus cushion from last year and will pay over 1 million in penalties this year because of that. For the sake of Connor, let’s not continue that or expand on it please.

        Peter appears to be smart enough to get a decent RHD who shoots right and won’t leak goals, while saving 1.8 million that can be used towards a backup goalie, Lucic, Demers or whatever he feels we need.

        You can sign a player now for 1 million in salary with the rest in bonuses. The salary and bonus is included in the cap hit. The benefit is if you want to buy out the player, you only buy out the 1 million salary, the bonuses are paid out in full to the player but do not count against your cap in a buyout. It’s a win for the player, as bonuses are guaranteed money and a win for the team if a buyout is in order later on.

        If you need proof, check out Ryan O’Rielly, perfectly legal contract.

        I hope Chia uses this loophole for all his contracts going forward until the NHL closes it. That in itself is reason enough to trade some players and their contracts for players with more cap friendly numbers or even just picks and the extra cap space for which to sign these new bonus laden contracts. These can be given to good veteran players that want term, with very little risk at all to your cap going into the future.

        Hall is a good player, he’s getting paid what he deserves, but that does not make it a value contract, you can guess what I think of RNH and Eberle’s contracts. I like all our players and would like to keep them all and their big contracts, in a hard cap world, not possible though.

        It should be all about McDavid now, surronding him with decent players on value contracts or bigger contracts with bonuses from veterans that can be bought out without hurting our cap down the line.

        So yes, from my perspective in a hard cap world, I think it was as much of a salary dump to clear the way for Connor and the future cap, as it was to obtain a RHD.

        • Jason Gregor

          You might want to check your facts about buyout benefits before suggesting this was a cap dump.

          Yes, O’Reilly gets paid mainly in bonus, but it doesn’t save the Sabres anything on cap hit, which is what matters in terms of cap flexibility.

          Let’s say they buy him out on June 25th, 2020 when he has three years remaining on his deal.

          The Sabres would pay out his salary over six years. In the first three years the cap hit would be $6.833 million. They save virtually nothing to buy him out.

          Then they would have a cap hit of $333,333 for the final three years.

          You can read here if you want. http://www.generalfanager.com/buyouts/588?day=15&year=2020

          Hall deal had nothing to do with salary cap issues. Hall has a value contract for the next four seasons. Suggesting otherwise is simply untrue. Go look at other players who produce like he has and will for four years and see what they are paid.

          • Am I right?

            I went to General Fanager, those are the #’s it spit out, but how do you know that their program takes this loophole into account? One wouldn’t, unless one contacted them and asked.

            If you so desire, please check out:
            Cap Friendly-buyout FAQ
            Spector’s Hockey-New loopholes in the NHL’s CBA

            These and other similar articles are what I’m basing my opinion on for buyouts with bonuses.

            My belief that Hall is not a value contract, is all me though.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    i have an opposite opinion here. maybe Chia just COULD NOT get a better d-man and Jersey didn’t want anyone else? after watching year after year after year of losing, i am quite alright with the Oilers trading anyone not named Mcdavid but i too am a little surprised we didn’t get just a bit more.

  • RYLO

    I feel for Hall. That’s like going to see a really slow movie with a great ending and someone pulls the fire alarm right before it gets good. No refund. Start again at another theatre

  • Here’s the thing, Larsson was NJD #1 defenceman on a team who’s D was much better than ours. Larsson IS a top pairing guy right now, a solid #2. Is stats are rough because he played on a garbage team against the toughest competition. Wait for the eye test, New Jersey fans will testify this guy is LEGIT. That being said, this was a terrible value deal for us. But I’m sick of oilers fans overreacting and dumping on this player they’ve likely never seen play. Stop being so negative, we got a top pairing defencemen! The price sucked, but let’s rejoice in the fact we have a #2 guy who has even more potential; Larsson was the best defencemen in New Jersey! He isn’t a middle pairing. Losing Hall sucked, but we have to grow up and stop dumping on Larsson. Klefbom and Larsson will be an elite shutdown pairing for years.

  • Strottie

    I’m still very miffed about this trade. An egregious over-payment for a “maybe”. I have a couple takeaways from it though, and they’re sort-of helping me cope with what happened.

    1. Had the Devils tossed in say, Zacha and the 2017 1st, to sweeten the deal, I’d still be somewhat upset but not as much. Neither Zacha nor the 1st help us win next year unless we flip them, so Larsson’s still really the only piece that helps next year.

    2. The defence is better today than it was yesterday (I keep hearing this, and I know it’s true, but it doesn’t make me feel better). Adding another piece to help man the PP does significantly help our blueline. We lost a lot of close, 1-goal games last year and a few that just got out of hand once we were out of it. Does having a 25+ minute muncher and a more confident Cam Talbot help with that? Probably, and it’ll mean something in the standings.

    3. We free up a tiny bit of cap space in this trade, maybe it lets us take a run at both Okposo and Lucic? No idea what Chiarelli’s up to, but something like that would easily fill the gap that losing Hall’s production leaves while giving Puljujarvi a chance to develop in the AHL.

    4. A healthy Connor, Nuge (if he isn’t traded in the next couple of days), Eberle, and our FA signings can, and probably will, produce points. We just won’t have Henderson’s “Unicorns” top 9 like we did 6 hours ago.

    Again, no way I’m impressed with this trade. As of right now – and probably until he pulls a rabbit out of his hat – I’m convinced that Chiarelli’s a moron. Unfortunately, unless I want to completely abandon the Oilers, I have to come to terms with what just happened. There’s no “Control + Z” for bad trades in the NHL. Best we move on.

    • Sean17

      I think point 1 is the main thing that bugs me. We couldn’t have got a couple draft picks, an ahl depth player, an appearance by David Puddy?! Something more!!!

  • Also, it seems as though Edmonton was negotiating from a position of weakness, which is why they had to lose this deal. Now that they aren’t as desperate for D, one would assume they no longer HAVE to lose a trade. Silver lining at least.

  • L

    Not a salary dump. Just an impulsive move to find a RHD. Like how we gave up barzal for Reinharts flip of a coin and more. Stupid trade. Larsson better turn into a top 10 nhl d man or we lose. Used to like “bold” trade idea but this is not a correct move. It reaks of paranoia

      • gongshow

        If Larsson turns into a top 10 or 20 guy I’m more than ok with this. If he’s top 90 (2nd pair anchor) that’s not enough return for Hall.
        Any D moving from Eastern to Western conference scares me a bit.

        • He’s already a top pairing #2 guy. I think the deal was bad, but let’s not dramatically undersell him just because he was traded for Hall. I would say he is currently a top 40 or 50 defencemen in the league, and with the potential to be even higher.

        • Turd Furgeson

          so what you are saying is that if jamie benn or OV were avalible, only two left wingers in tge game better than hall, chia coulda got nj to throw in a 5th or 6th pick with larsen?? Give your head a shake, this is not about lw vs rhd its about poor asset management chia didnt di his job and should be fired

    • Turd Furgeson

      Hell yeah!! last year Chia gave up two first round picks on a maybe and look how that ended up. Now he is doubling down and letting it all ride on another maybe. remember H.O.P.E, Hall, Omark, Paarvi, eberle?

      Just a heads up….. Chia was fired from Boston because of the Seguin trade and a mismanaged cap. If, as all rumors indicate Cia has signed Lucic to a 7 year deal at 7mill you can officially state that he has learned nothing.

      Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it!

  • Lamar's Javelin

    What you are missing and many are is the controlling the flow of the game. Did Hall ever cycle? Was there ever puck possession in the zone that led to much once the initial rush ended? Not really. How many games did you see Taylor fly up and create something, only to watch other teams endure the initial rush and then simply dominate and get the puck back? Let’s not lose sight of that. That had to change and for my $ I take Lucic + Larsson > Hall every day of the week.

  • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    How has Hall done with the Oilers since early February when McDavid came back full time? Did he live up to his “best of the League’s left wingers” when he had McDavid playing in the line up? or did he slide out of “best left winger” contention?

    How did Hall do after the trade deadline when the team did an internal reset and said internally that while we’re not making the play-offs we expect to earn a certain number of points and wins from here on in?

    The answer to both those questions is that Hall did badly. Really badly. He did better in previous years, is the only gentle way of putting it. But face it, he did badly in the last 50 games. He did badly when he needed to do well, when McDavid was challenging for the league lead in ppg and Hall had every opportunity to take advantage of the time and space that he gained to up his game.

    He didn’t up his game, in fact he barely showed up on the score sheet.

    Some fans may be viewing this as the red wedding, but it’s really the battle of the bastards, and of the 6M players Hall was the poor bastard that got traded.

    • hags437

      Agree completely. Listen…did Jersey get the best player? Yes absolutely. However, we can look back in a few years and today won’t seem to be that bad. One thing about Halls game that made me irate was his compete lack of toughness. The kid would skate the other way when a scrum happened. Never put a glove in someone’s face, never stuck up for a teammate like a leader should. Anyone who thinks different has their head up their %#*. Larsson keeps the puck out of his net. That’s a fact folks and we need it sorely. Homer fans overvalue their players..in every city. I heard yesterday a Hall for Piterangelo suggestion..ridiculous and laughable. Elite D men rarely get traded and if they do another elite D man goes the other way..as we saw today. Taylor Hall wasn’t gonna get you an elite true bona fide #1 D man. Never. I want to make the playoffs..I’m sick of losing and I don’t give a damn who’s on the roster if we are in the playoffs. While I don’t think Hall was a cancer in the room, I also believe that he and Ebs and maybe a couple others, caused some issues. How many of you were whining and crying over the way Yak was treated by them. At least that was the perception. Perhaps there was something to that..who knows. And for God sake let’s give Larsson a chance. Victor Hedman took time to develop as did several other D men over the years. He didn’t ask to be in this position. Everyone step off the ledge and see how it plays out. One thing I know for sure..the Oilers have a better chance to make the playoffs today than they did yesterday.

  • Explicit

    I sorta kinda somewhat disagree with the title of this article because that’s all I’ve read so far. I say it’s based on history and a desperate need to improve. I don’t like the trade, but we have a better team now. It stinks of desperation and there’s no way you can spin this that would make the oilers win this trade short of Larssen becoming the next Lidstrom, but I don’t think they’re hoping he does. This simply fills a need they were desperate to fill that I can only hope they weren’t able to fill any other way.

    Bottom line for me .. I have a better chance of not watching a bottom feeder next year even tho they made a desperate move and gave up one of the best wingers in the world.

    This trade sucks. Would’ve much rather got Hamilton last year, Jones mid year or even Gudbranson at year end. But desperate teams make desperate moves and the best I can say is atleast we finally got a RHD

    • L

      We got a RHD for taylor hall, that really isn’t proven yet. These gambles can flush a team out. Don’t like it. Jultz played 20+ minutes a night for us and minutes mean jack. +15 is a plus. But that’s mostly played in the eastern conference. I refuse to believe the team is better until proven otherwise

  • YakCity1039

    That PP guy has to be Tyson Barrie. Klefbom-Larsson as your top-pairing shutdown tandem to take on the Toews/Kane, Getzlaf/Perry, Johansen/Forsberg of the WC, with Sekera-Barrie as your 2nd pair offensive tandem.

    Klefbom – Larsson

    Sekera – Barrie

    Davidson – Gryba / Fayne / FA signing


  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    He traded the 3rd best LW on the planet for a maybe. If it works out, he’ll look like a genius.

    Hey JG, any chance we can get an article about 1st pairing guys and what age they generally establish themselves? Because from where I sit, we just gave up Hall for a wing and a prayer.

  • fran huckzky

    We criticized Tambellini because he was afraid to do anything so he sat on his hands. The culture on this team needed to change and thankfully Chia has the balls to make a move that he no doubt new would be unpopular. I have been a Hallsy fan for 5 years but how many playoff games has that got us? Thank you Peter.

    Edit. Gregor’s blog was titled based on hope. I would like to say that now I finally have some hope whereas tthere was little reason previous other than McD

  • Dawn

    Beer store? Pfft I’m doing Irish whiskey and it still hurts. Feel betrayed. We’ve been sold “hope” and “potential” for years. And now they trade a sure thing for more “hope” and “potential”. Wtf?

    I know. It’s partly my fault. I’ve been loyal and supportive through all of this. And they think the well will never run dry.

    If it was salary dump, what about Pouliot and Korp? Wouldn’t that have done the trick?

    Why did I even love this team? All they do is hurt me. Truth is I’ve always had bad judgement in this area.

  • Realist1

    Maybe New Jersey won the paper trade. The less flashy player with a shorter resume came to Edmonton.

    But at the end of the day Larsson logged some of the highest def zone strarts in the league on the best def team in the league. The Devils were -20, Larsson was a team high +15. He was in the top 5 for SH minutes in the league. Oh, and he is a right shot, right D.

    Even if New Jersey “won he trade” please stop making Larsson sound like. 4/5 guy when he was a clear 1/2 on the best def in the league…

  • synchorswim

    It’s just one more time where they are selling us nonsense like “Trust us, this is young, relatively unproven player is going to be awesome, don’t worry that we traded a top 10 talent just entering his prime…oh and we drafted an 18 year old who’s also amazing, don’t worry he will come in and play right away (I feel like we have heard that before)…by the way we overpaid for Lucic who is not nearly as productive as Hall and is 4 years older”. Just when I think things couldn’t get worse…they do.

    You know who else looked good playing with Andy Greene…Mark Fayne and also Severson…maybe its just that Greene is really good??

    My last point is what really bugs me about the justification for this trade – well that’s just the asking price right now, like there were no other option… the only one was trade Hall for whatever someone will offer.

    Ok let’s just say I need to sell my house because I got a new job and need to move but people are offering me half of what it’s worth…the only thing to do is sell just because that’s the only offer…there isn’t possibly another scenario??? Cause I can think of a few…rent it out, sell later, find a new new job so I don’t have to move. There are so many other ways this could have played out…but hey Oilers management is on it so we should all sleep easy tonight. If I wake up tomorrow and Nuge is gone for Dumba it wouldn’t shock me at all…but it will suck the last small amount of love I have left for this team from my cold, bitter sports heart.

  • This.Is.NHL

    The problem I have is sometimes in a game it needs a spark and someone to step up and Hall was always the guy to do that, Hall was never on my trade list this year and watching him In warm-up his shots had meaning, it’s a big loss to the Oilers and our young players now I’m afraid with Ebs having a bigger role in being a leader to our young guys mite start floting more often.

    The pros to the trade are, we have one less first overall so when we do lose its less embarrassing, second, we have a 23 year old right shot RHD.

  • Pritchard

    Agree with previous texter that Hall..dynamic player that he is really didn’t cycle the puck very well. And that is a key component to generating scoring chances . That is not to say Hall isn’t a fantastic player…he is. But the Oilers got a very good defender back in Adam Larsson. And addressed a massive team hole in doing so. I too am surprised that a pick or prospect didn’t come back from the Devils. And I’d pose this question to Jason Gregor…don’t u think that Chia explored all his options and this deal is simply the best deal he could get to address the glaring need on defence ?

  • Ol_OneNut

    Not saying if this is still relevant but…

    during the buildup to the 2011 draft, Larsson was considered to be one of the players that might go first overall.

    Edmonton chose Nuge first but at the time the talk was that Larsson could be the next Lidstrom.

    Now I’m not saying that he has progressed like he’s the next Lidstrom, but Dmen do take longer to develop sometimes…

    And he has been trending upwards, hasn’t he?