Hall trade: It is based on Hope

AdamLarsson

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.
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  • JimmyV1965

    Lucic is getting a minimum of $6,5 over seven years. Book it. PC doesn’t make this deal unless he knew Lucic is in the bag. And the only way he has him in the bag is with a massive overpayment.

  • Mitch92

    Once the Oilers sign Jason Demers everything will make sense. They had to clear out the number four for Demers much like the Leafs had to clear out James Riemer’s number 34 to give it to Smugly Mercun.

  • OILFANMEXICO

    Huge gamble for Chiarelli….

    He knows his job is in the balance. He wasn’t hired to sit on his hands and this shows he’s willing to be the fall guy if it goes south(and he will be if it does).

    Time to pray we sign Lucic to a decent contract and don’t get hosed.

    As lucky as we were to get McDavid, after today it proves yet again the real value of bonifde #1 D-men. In all our #1 picks we won,Ekblad would have been a beauty(But we didn’t win that year!).

  • Prairiechicken

    There were many analysts and arm chair GM’s suggesting that Klefbom’s injury and absence hurt the Oilers just as much as McDavids. Whichever side you believed – it was a legitimate question – but at the same time, absolutely no one questioned who was the better player between the 2.

    I view this trade similarly. Larsson is projecting better than Klefbom, so, despite not being the same skill level as Hall, could have more of a positive impact on the Oilers.

  • OILFANMEXICO

    You know I woke up this morning and pictured Chiarelli sitting at a Texas hold em’ table all-in, waiting for the river card. To me this is what he did on the Hall trade. He went all-in HOPING, Larsson will be the one player he needs. God I hope it works out.

  • Rock11

    To me this deal is pretty simple, short bus simple but still simple. The Oilers will be a better team next year because of it and probably make a playoff push but will likely top out at the St. Louis level as opposed to the Chicago level.

    The pressure put on by the fan base and potentially the upper management group to open the new building with a “competitive” team over-ran good judgement. I think I, like most fans, was willing to put up with the BS seasons if it lead to a 5 year+ run of a being a true cup contender. Now with what appears to be an absurd Lucic contract on the way the only path to that kind of success appears to be that McD and Pulj really are Gretzky and Kurri.

  • TyeDye

    The notion that Chia just traded our second best player for a 2nd pairing Dman and says he’s still in the hunt for that 1st pairing PP guy is terrifying. How does he intend to get it? McDavid!? If all Hall gets you is a 2nd pairing guy (though I find it hard to believe there weren’t other deals out there) how the hell do you get that 1st pairing guy?? He wouldn’t trade McDavid, right? Right!?? RIGHT!?!!??!

  • RicoSuave

    I hope things work out better for Hall in NJ.

    One thing we know for sure though is that when the words HOPE and OILERS have been used together since Hall was drafted, the results have more often than not turned out badly!

  • First post in a long time…. This is obviously a bummer right now, but I’ll get over it if we see a winning team. Hall was special to us fans, he was the prize after the year of suck. Poor Roli getting lit up. The Smytty trade. Hall was the prize after all of that. Now he’s gone and I wish him well.

    This is Connor’s team now. The D is being addressed. We might have a mean prick LW in Lucic having 97’s back the next six-seven years. Our forwards are fine, the D needed addressing, this is a start.

    Hall was symbolic to us as the start of change. He was valued, he was cheered for, and he is gone. Mourn the trade if you must, soak it in that the team didn’t get any magic beans to go with it. Do what you need to do – it sucks to see him go. Larsson is needed. Once the shock is over we’ll move on.

    Good luck to Taylor, go feast on the east Hallsy.

  • hagar

    Like has been said, lots of unknowns. All I know from where I sit is things needed to happen.

    You would think by the value they received, that the rumors about attitude in the room might be a factor, but that is as good a guess as any reason. The only thing I can say is that the hockey community is way tighter in knowledge than we ever get to hear.

    I have never been a fan of Halls play beyond him putting up points, and I would rather have seen Lowe and Mact traded first, but something had to happen, and those guys will never take the blame.

    This is a year over year thing that the oilers find something to change that brings hope for the next year, let’s hope this isn’t the only change.. if it is, it has classic oilers management written all over it.

    I feel like someone just offered me less money than I want for one of my cars, but it pays for the truck I need, and not the car I want.

    I hope we will be better in the end, but man that was a pretty decent car to trade for a truck to haul gravel.

    Let’s hope that truck can build the foundation with that gravel.

    • OILFANMEXICO

      I agree Hagar, one has toread between the lines and ask themselves “Why didn’t Hall fetch more?”. It’s above our pay grade, but well worth mentioning.

      We get what we can get or we stand-pat(potentially in 29th again!)

  • OilFanSince96

    I hate this trade as much as the next fan but we have to give Larsson at least a chance to show what he’s made of and what he can do to help this team make the playoffs and eventually to a Cup. This guy played top defensive minutes against the likes of Crosby, Tavares, Ovi etc and was a +15! He has the ability to make a great breakout pass and I can’t be the only one seeing him feeding McDavid constantly onto a breakaway. So yeah right now we can be angry about Hall leaving and on the return, but let’s welcome Larsson to Oil Country and at least wait until he has been able to play a couple games before we rip him to shreds or else he’ll join the list of defence men to bolt.

    • hagar

      Nothing wrong with Larsson. He is the best dman on the team now, and right shot to booot.

      All we need is average dman to go with the rest of the team to succeed. Lots of teams have epic dman with average forwards, and they make runs. Our D is so far below the poverty level that the team just can’t survive. I would trade eberle and poo for one more Larsson, then the team is on track.

      We don’t need a true number one, we need two larrsons.

  • Anton CP

    I hope fans can show some love toward Larsson. Regardless if the trade is fair or not that he is our guy now so at least try not to discredit him.

    If the deal doesn’t work out then it is not Larsson’s fault, it will be Chiarelli’s.

  • DannyGallivan

    Three facts. 1) McDavid will get north of $8M in 2 yrs. 2) on that basis, Edmonton needed a quality (vs. top pairing) RHD under a good/cheap contract ($4.2 4 yrs) i.e. Subban wouldn’t work with his $9M contract (even if we could trade Drai, Klef, 4th round pick and whatever else the Habs wanted) with McDavid (soon $8M+), Ebs/RNH ($6M ea) 3) Hall was expendable with Lucic as L is a stud/heavy to play against and great defensively – straight across at $6M?

    Hall vs. Lucic – CF% 57.1 vs 63.5 (7th best in league), +/- -4 vs +26, Pts/60 – 2.48 vs 2.32. The only issue is Age 25 vs. 28. Except for age, Lucic compares very well.

    Lucic is a done deal tomorrow. $6M for 6 – better not be more.

    At the end of the day, we had to improve our RHD. IMHO, we should have received more (e.g. 1st or 2nd round next year) but the trade had to be made. Now Larsson needs to step the F&^% up. The Oil are a better team today (w Lucic).

    • MorningOwl

      fans keep saying that McD is the best in the world,but expect to pay him around 8 million per year?

      you don’t think the Oilers will have to pay McD like he is the best player? maybe closer to the 12M range?

      what is the max salary available for a player? if he is the best, wouldn’t you expect to pay the max?

      • Spiel

        You’re right, but McDavid is an RFA so there will be a downward pressure on the contract. I think he will come in close to the $10M range. $9.7M per year kind of like Crosby’s $8.7M on his second contract? The Oilers will gladly pay it too. If they want to eat in to his UFA years, then it goes higher.

  • I think it’s time as a collective sports community we start to use another word than cancer to describe a player we – for whatever reason – believe to be have a negative impact on the dressing room. I know this sounds a bit PC, but I have a feeling people affected by the disease likely don’t enjoy hearing the comparison of a life destroying sickness being compared to a million dollar athlete.

    As for Hall being a negative influence, don’t buy it. Any guy that gets his face stepped on, and tries to come back that night is a person who doesn’t have a ‘bad attitude.’

    As for this notion we are saving on cap, well I agree with Gregor that one for one its not much of a savings. But if you compare Larsson to PK Subban, or say Shattenkirk who would get paid big time next year, or even a guy like Trouba, then I think the cap savings start to make sense.

    If Klefbom and Larsson are now your top pair, well then you have them both for less than one PK Subban.

    I really liked Lowetide’s comparison of Larsson to a player like Vlassic. That to me is the type of player the Oilers just acquired. And that is massive. Still think it was an overpay, and Oilers lost the deal. But if in the end the team is better, and they are winning, I might not care.

  • Oil_in_the_Desert

    Taylor Hall was in Edmonton for 6 years under 5 different NHL coaches, 3 GMs and countless teammates. Not one of them thought he should be a captain, little lone pin the hopes of a “rebuild” on him.

    Also, he’s not ever been seriously considered for a Team Canada spot.

    And, I’m sure the Oilers can finish in the bottom 5 without Taylor Hall.

  • MessyEH!

    I know Edmonton overpaid. I sure wish there had of been a couple of high draft picks coming back our way. Say a 1st and 2nd in next year’s draft. Some sort of currency to use to trade for a another defensemen PP specialist.

    • herb

      A little context

      Some of us who are in our late 50’s watched as our Oilers were dismantled during the late 80’s and early 90’s, these guys won 5 cups together.

      Last year we finish 29th and after two decades of losing our GM trades a player who I have rated no higher than 5th in importance to this organization.

      I see a upside to the Oilers that I haven’t seen for a very longtime.There is still plenty of good work to do before this team contends again but I’ve confident based on yesterdays deal that the Oilers are on the right path.

  • @Gregor, I’m not sure I agree with your narrative that part of the reason Hall was sent out of town was due to an internal character assassination by the old regime, who you feel should be permanently swept away. I have to believe Chi is not basing his decisions on the whispers of Mac T and Scott Howsen.

    The way I see it, Chi decided the team needed help on D more than the team needed Taylor Hall, and then got the best possible return for Hall based on what was available. I think to believe any other narrative is a bit silly.

    Now yours’ and others’ mileages may vary on whether Larsson was the BPA, but I think it’s difficult to say the team needed Taylor Hall more than they needed defence, especially if Lucic is going to be signed.

    And yes, I know all the ‘Lucic isn’t a driver and won’t play on that line’, or ‘scoring is hardest thing to do, Oilers need scoring’. But other than maybe Phil Kessel recently, name me one other winger who was the reason his team won the cup. Even Ovechkin can’t win his team the cup.

    As horribly cliche as it is, cups are won by building down the middle. For every Kessel, there’s a ‘teams had to key in on Crosby.’ For every Hossa there’s a Toews, Seabrook, and Keith.

    So, my question – sorry it took so long – do you think the Oilers needed defence more than Taylor Hall? I suspect your answer might be something along the lines of yes, but Larsson doesn’t fill that need enough.

    • Jason Gregor

      Yes, they need D. Larsson might become what they need. I’d have rather got a more established guy. Hard to do, yes, but if I was trading for Larsson, who could be very solid, I would have tried to deal other pieces before Hall. I assume Chia tried and couldn’t or maybe he didn’t. We likely will never know.

      So Toews was more important than Kane, Hossa and Sharp? Don’t see it that way.

      You need many good pieces. There is not set rule on C and D. Pittsburgh didn’t have great D depth. They had one. Kessel drove a line like very few can. Whether you play wing or C if you can drive a line you have a lot of value.

      • I agree with your points and solid rebuttal. But you can’t say Kessel would have gotten the space had it not been for teams keying in on Crosby. In the finals Kessel got the Burns pairing, Crosby got the Vlasic pairing. How many points did Crosby get against the Sharks?

        As for the note about Kane, Hossa and Sharp. You are right that they played huge roles in contributing to those cup wins. But that also sets up the comparison that Hall is as good as Hossa, Kane and Sharp.

        While stats show he drives play, and generates points like few LW in the NHL can… Kane and Hossa play RW. Kane and Hossa are superior wingers than Hall. If you disagree then you are saying you’d rather have Hall over Kane and Hossa (few years ago Hossa). Maybe you take Hall over Sharp, especially now, but Sharp in his prime? … Tough call.

        As per usual your hockey knowledge gives you a bit of an edge here. I think my point is apt that the wingers you can point to that win teams cups are the exception to the rule.

        Other than the Mac T character assassination narrative, I think so far you’ve been one of the more measured pundits about this whole thing. Keep up the good work.

  • Spiel

    The Oilers sold the hope that Taylor Hall would lead them to a championship, remember #HereComeTheOilers? It was hope that somehow a team that was completely misconstructed could finish any higher than the bottom 5 of the league.

    Reality is that a trade for a defenceman should have happened long ago. Drafting a defenceman instead of Yakupov or Nugent Hopkins should have happened long ago.

    Reality is also that the Oilers are in a position where no GM in the league is going to do them any favours. Management groups around the NHL are jealous/unimpressed with the Oilers lottery luck in getting McDavid and their other first overall picks. No opposing GM wants to be the guy that makes the trade that turns the Oilers in to a cup contender. If the Oilers wanted a d-man to plug the gaping hole in their organization then they would have to pay, and pay dearly.

    Reality is Chiarelli traded out the best player in this trade, but the Oilers are a better TEAM because of this trade. He filled a massive hole in the organization. Six years of a concerted rebuilding process and the Oilers have no right shot D for their top two pairings. That such an organizational hole still exists is an indictment of their entire management and scouting staff. Chiarelli carries some of the blame as his Reinhart trade last season dropped assets for left shot d-man and did not address the bigger issue.

    Reality is the Oilers are still selling hope to their fans. The names attached to the hope are just changing.

    • Derzie

      I agree with the majority of your post but please explain how they are a better team now? Where is Hall’s production going to come from now? Sure the D is better but at what cost? There are 3 veteran D men about to be bought out. Adding any one of them and keeping Taylor Hall would make the team better. Trading away Hall and adding a decent D man makes the D better but the team worse. And the talk of Hall being a cancer is just goofy. He wasted 6 years of his career on the same hope that the fans have been fed. He could have walked away at any time. He did not.

      • the big GRIGowski

        Please explain to me how he could have “walked away”? And aging guys being bought out is for a reason: they suck. Adding them isn’t making us better. We addressed a glaring need that will make our team better. As for the offense, we have McDavid. I’ll take playoffs with Larsson over no playoffs with Hall any day of the week.

      • Ed in Edmonton 1

        Don’t make it sound like Hall, or any other professional (or really anyone getting paid to provide a service) is doing someone a favor for doing their job. Hall was getting well paid for his services like everyone else in the NHL.

  • TS

    If nothing else, it does suggest we fans value players like RNH and Ebs way more than NHL GMs do. If you believe PC simply didn’t try to move lesser parts for a dman, you’re fooling yourself. Saying “that’s the price for a defenseman today” is his way of not having to say “our other players aren’t worth much in the market” and thus trash his own guys. Though I suspect the players piece that together pretty quickly on their own.

  • Hemmercules

    @ JASON GREGOR

    Jason, why do think Chia never got another piece back or at least a salary dump?? Seems like a lot of the discontent with this trade is that they didn’t get any extra stuff thrown in. Especially when Chia himself is saying NJ got the better player, why wouldn’t he at least push for a pick or something??

    Chia sounds like he really loves Larsson, sees something there maybe the rest of us dont. Haven’t watched him much so I’m going off stats and praise but I think he will be a great asset to the team as well. For sure some hope in this but I think I’m ready for this type of gamble, the current core wasnt advancing.

    • Jason Gregor

      He has his reasons. Larsson could be very solid and Chiarelli knows he has to improve the blueline.

      I agree, why not try to toss in Korp, for instance, but I think he decided he would make a deal and if he losses it, but improves team elsewhere he would.

      I’m curious to see if they land Lucic. If they do and it is at hefty price, I wonder if all those claiming Lucic/Larsson is better than Hall will still feel same if they see the money and term.

    • Jersey needs 2 things right now, offence, and picks to help rebuild its team. Trading Larsson was acceptable for the return on offence given they have Severson to step up. Trading picks or prospects sets back their goal of rebuilding quickly and getting back into contention.

  • slats-west

    Somethings about Hall have always disturbed me

    1.Taylor Hall at WC
    “In truth, though, Hall had a miserable time of it when he was out there, making soft plays on the puck that by my count resulted in four turnovers, an embarrassing fail on a toe drag, and zero shots on goal.” Edmonton Journal

    2. A Gamer?
    He has 9 GW in the last 3 years.

    3. Teammates got your back
    Over the past 5 years I think there had to be about 5-6 times per season where Hall gets run into the glass and no one . . I mean No One comes to his defence.

    4. Captain?
    Nope

    Hall is a great left winger. I think if he wants he could be more but his body of work of being the Ultimate Team mate and Leader has a lot of question marks.

    Time for a change.