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.

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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.

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.

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  • 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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  • 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!).

  • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Hall on Edmonton: “The city doesn’t matter for me as much as for other players. I was invested in the team. . . . To be able to say you played in the New York City area is pretty cool and I’m looking forward to playing hockey there.”

    What Taylor learned from De Niro: “A guy told me one time, “Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.”

  • Derzie

    When did ‘handedness’ become a thing? The Oilers have zero Top 2 d-men and they focus on right or left handedness? That strikes me as being completely insane. Am I to believe that only right-handed D were worth getting? A mind-blowing day. Larsson is and NHLer but he can never live up to this trade. Hall is elite and will be for years to come.

    • Seanaconda

      Since alot of guys suck on their off side and analytics say it has a pretty big effect. Oilers already have 2 top 4 guys that are better and prefer left.

      I’m sure the oilers would take a guy the shoots left if he liked and was good playing on the right side. Just uncommon for a dman. Forwards it’s not really an issue cuz shooters tend to go to their offside in the ozone anyways for one timers.

  • Chia wanted Larsson. Whatever he saw in Larsson he liked very much and I think it just ramped up to the point where he needed to lose Hall. It’s a tough blow and I’m not on board with the trade as of right now. But as everyone else has said, if the oil make the playoffs next year this will all be forgotten.

  • Oilers Rule

    Oilers new management is as dumb as our old management.

    I had much more hope that things would finally get better but it looks like the joke is on us the long suffering Oilers fans.

    If Larson was all we could get for Hall, should have tried to pick off Gardiner from the Leafs. Would have been a hell of allot cheaper and we would have gotten a far superior defensemen than Larson with lower risk. This trade just baffles me and any faith I had in the new management is long gone.

    For me, time to find another team to cheer for as I’ve had enough and can’t take it anymore.

  • albertabeef

    Hall reminds me of Lindros. Not in the way they played the game, but how they thought the game. From 12 years old until they were 18, when the going got tough, they either tried to blow by, or blow up the opposition. They both were/are either too stubborn, or too stupid to adjust to better opposition. Larsen will give us 10 years of good defense.

  • GK1980

    I’ve had some time to digest this trade but here is my conclusion. Taylor is gone and now we all need to support Larson and encourage him while he developes. Wish Taylor all the best but what is done is done.

    I personally would not have done this trade. Hope chia is right.

    • My thoughts exactly. And Chiarelli is a smart hockey guy, he has a plan. All I say is let’s judge this from a macro perspective at the end of the offseason. We lost big time on this trade, but Chiarelli could very well make us a contender. Time will tell.

  • TurkeyLips

    If Oil started next season without someone, anyone, to fit in the top 2 comfortably they’d be in a dire state.

    Competent top pairing defence has proven to be of vital importance in the NHL. The Oilers needed this crucial asset, and on the right side to boot – an overpayment was necessitated from the start.

    Adam Larsson may not be elite nor flashy, but he proved somehwat effective on the top pairing of one of the better defensive teams in the league. The question remains, will he improve the team beyond the loss of 60+ points Hall put up last year? Who knows. All we know is that beggars can’t be choosers.

    It seems good + young top 4 D are extremely valuable assets to have these days. They’re worth a lot and cost an arm and a leg to trade for. Properly developing defenseman from the draft is literally the only way to go.

    I kind of pity the Oilers situation, and their total lack of leverage on this trade. A second or third rounder should have also gone back the other way. Hall is a perennial first overall, someone your team stumbles upon once a decade. Larsson is the kind of D you find in the top 10 of every draft year. I guess that’s what you get for trading from a position of absolutely zero strength. Regardless, this will be a fun trade to follow.

  • hockey1099

    listening to Gregor today was completely different than most. I think the oilers fan in him poked it’s head out today. There was passion, anger and you could tell he was a bit dumbfounded. Everything he said about Lowe, Mac t and howson was right.

    Bad trade hope it works out for us cause im tired of losing but I have been hoping the oilers would get good for a long time now.

    If this is what hall gets us imagine we can get for yak. Broken sticks and used jock straps should be he best we get

    • camdog

      What did he say about Mact, Lowe and Howson? When I was calling out Lowe, Mact and Howson many years ago for there incompetence, Gregor was calling fans like me out repeatedly…

  • camdog

    The trade was bad, but there is no need to make Larsson sound worse than he actually is. WoodGuy has Larsson as the 5th best right shot d-man in the league. Larsson is every bit if not better than Hjarlmarsson and he’s still a kid that’s developing and improving.

    He’s a legitimate #2 d-man right now and he still has the potential to improve.

    • Moneyball1976

      Lets get back to reality for a moment. This is a high risk gamble on the future prospects of a Dman who has struggled in the past for a top 5 winger in the league. No matter how you cut it this deal is a big gamble that you did not have to take. Sports deals are all about risk management and there were less risky deals out there.

      I think Chia really wanted this player and went all in for him. See that Garth Snow transaction where he signed a goalie for a 20 year deal. I’m afraid Chia has looked at this player through rose colored glasses the same way Snow did.

      I’m also afraid that now he signs lucic to a ridiculously long contract.

      However, I’m hoping that common sense takes over.

      • I am Batman

        We do not know what other deals were out there.

        I do not like this trade, but I do not get paid to build a championship team, Chiarelli does, we may not like it but if the Oilers go to the play-offs, we will all be at peace, not because only this deal made us make it, but because we all know that walking in with almost the same line up as last year (especially on D) is guaranteed failure, bearing an unbelievable season from Klefbom or Nurse (both of them we have not really seen, we paint them as mythological heroes, they both have played very little).

        If Chiarelli and his scouts did an analysis on the development of this player and he projects to keep improving, who knows. OEL, Karlsson, Weber, Doughty…. they all started somewhere. Which one was Norris at 23?

        I am not happy with this trade, but I need to wait and see, We do not know what happened behind closed doors and we cannot predict the future.

        Maybe the kid is a stud. Taylor Hall was a stud, but how many Taylor Halls do we need? There is not enough puck for all of them. I wish it had been Eberle, but Eberle sucks, nobody wants him.

    • pkam

      5th best RHD? As far as I know, Drew Doughty, Erik Karlsson, Shea Weber, Alex Pietrangelo, Kris Letang, PK Subban are all RHD. Is Larsson already better than at least 2 of them?

      And I haven’t mentioned some of the really good but not elite RHD like Seabrook, Shattenkirk, Klingberg, Barrie, Faulk etc. Is he already better than all these players?

    • McRaj

      Woodguy has lost it. Doughty, Ekblad, PK, Karlson, Burns, Pietro, Webber, Klingberg, Barrie, Johnson, Hamilton, Buff, Shatty, Letang, Faulk, Carlson, Risto, Hamonic are all easily better right shots.

      I wont punish Larson because it’s not his fault. I just really hope he becomes a legit #1.

      But we got ripped off and for all those bashing Hall now, you’re just cowards. Yeah waste a player on the way out, so classy. I wish Hall nothing but the best and he deserves better then this crappy organization who never provided him with adequate support.

      Give me Hall any day over Nuge, Drai, or Eberle. I have lost all faith in Oilers management once again.

      • camdog

        I am a little mystified that WoodGuy had him so high, but I’ve liked his work for a long time. He’s better defensively apparently according to the advanced stats. Once again just like Woodguy I am not saying it’s a good deal, but the advanced stat guys are saying the numbers for Larsson are good.

    • Pritchard

      Yeah and woodguy knows his s**t ! Larsson is going to surprise alot of oilet fans how effective he is in all aspects of the game. But give him some latitude the first month to adjust.

  • Kurt

    Jason. Do you think Chiarelli didn’t shop 93 or 14 around the league first? Maybe consider that this is the market value of Hall. Spector brought up a lot of good points on Inside Sports on CHED tonight. He said it takes an elite Dman and get an elite Dman apparently in today’s NHL. You would be ignorant to think that Chiarelli didn’t try to bolster our blue line by trading away a different player before resorting to Hall.

    We changed our team today. We can’t be a worse team than the last few years. It’s not a black and white points for points situation that teams look for in a trade. It’s not Chiarelli’s first rodeo.

  • Armchair genius

    Well, I have a useless Hall jersey now! Bought it in his first year with all sorts of optimism of making the playoffs. Six short years later and we still finished second last, not the leader I had hoped. Management problems aside, the core of players Edmonton had should have performed better, and I blame that on poor attitudes, as one commenter on here said, after the trade deadline reset Hall was all but invisible!!
    For now, I’m going to give this kid a chance and won’t judge chirrelli til xmas. I’ve been hoping for the last ten years, and it hasn’t gotten better with who we had so I’ll make my judgment after I see the on ice product this fall!
    Welcome Edmonton Adam Larrson, I wish you all the best, and hope you bring down our GA, being we’ve been last or near last in the league in that category for a looooong time.

  • shaner

    so to get this straight Reinhart and larsen for
    a first in one of the deepest drafts a second and the third best LW in the league…….cant wait for some more bold moves. Lucic 7×7 fits the bill or maybe a nuge for wideman trade would be the cherry……

    awesome work chia!

  • Cheap Shot Charlie

    Great article Jason!

    The most frustrating part is AGAIN we are fed the “hope” line. I’m done with hope. Give me the wins. I don’t see this as a trade that fixes anything. A good d-man is not what we needed for our best tradable asset. This would be an example of sometimes-the-best-trades-are-the-ones-you-don’t-make.

    I hope Lucic does sign here for 7 years. And I hope he can do what he’s done in the past for all 7. Chia will look like a real @$$ if he doesn’t.

    • Ronr68

      You’re right! We should keep going with a small forward group that finishes at the bottom of the league every year. Hey, they’d score a lot, if only they could get the puck.

  • RJ

    Earlier in the year, there was a Rumor that the Oilers were trying to trade for Seth Jones. The alleged asking price was Nuge.

    At the time, I didn’t mind it because Jones has size (6’4, 208), he’s been durable (240 GP in three seasons), is right-handed, and is only 21. He didn’t have the world-beater offensive stats, but playing on a pretty deep blueline, he wasn’t getting rushed. Third-pairing in Nashville, top-pairing in Columbus.

    Career stats: 240 GP, 17 G, 66 A, 83 P
    Over his last 41 GP (as a top pairing): 20 P in 41 games

    Larsson (6’3, 205): 274 GP, 9 G, 60 A, 69 P

    So Jones is bigger, more durable, produces more points and the asking price was lower (Hall vs Nuge).

    But as long as they have Nuge, the huge rip-off for Larsson will eventually work out.

    • Seanaconda

      Jones was in the 2nd / 3rd pairing getting some pp time in nash I believe and gets pp time on the jackets while larsson has been first pairing but given all the actual defense minutes on a defensive team. He’s played more like a hamonic or vlasic who tend to not put up points cuz they are stuck doing the less exciting job of actually playing defense

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Speed Junky

    we need stay at home d. check with Larsson

    80 pt Hall??

    too much

    Hall got stabbed in the back. I feel sad for him

    he was with McDavid 1/2 season

    he put 6 years in. and now the Sun rises and he goes

    feel his pain

    Yes. you are a Good Soldier

  • Pritchard

    Whoa ! Larsson is a waaaaaay better defender than Hamilton. Nothing wrong with Larssons zone exit passes…and again he’s a much much better all around player than Gudbranson. Anyone who thinks different hasn’t seen/watched the player enough to make an informed statement. Most if us are sad to see Hall go..myself included. But defence is our biggest team need. And Adam Larsson is a very good defenceman. And he’s not even in his prime. Big time upside. Some of u need to check your remarks. ..bag of pucks etc…ridiculous. we just filled a huge hole on this team. And kept are strength down the middle too .

  • 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.

  • Don W

    This deal is years of incompetence in the making. Schultz being forced into a top pairing no matter how much he struggled. Petry for a second round pick. Trading Nil players for magic beans. The management with no clue. How good does the Dougie Hamilton trade look now? The flames gave up nothing. What about the canucks trade for gudbranson? I don’t watch the east enough but is Larson much better. This is McDavids team now. His job got harder.

  • Jthunder

    I was sure that I’d never post to ON, but yet here I am.

    At first I was also pissed at the deal, it shocked me. How could Hall get traded for such a mediocre defensive commodity? What was Chia thinking?

    Then I started to dig in. The main thing that stood out to me was how hard it is to flip forwards to defensemen in trades – it happens but very rarely. Very hard thing to do.

    The other important part of the equation is will the loss of Halls points up-front be covered by the goals-against by improving the D? That’s basically the question. Can we fill hall’s spot with new forwards, Lucic and Puljujarvi and others that will generate almost the same level of points while reducing the goals against.

    Based on the 2015/16 stats here’s how that shakes out:

    Hall – 65 points (-4)

    Lucic – 55 points (+26)
    Puljujarvi – 36 points (+3) comparison with Elhers in Winnipeg
    Larsson – 18 points (+15)
    Demers – 23 points (+16)
    Ellis – 32 points (+13)

    Fayne – 7 points (-6)
    Gryba – 6 points (even)

    Overall the Oilers were 199 Goals for and 242 Goals against
    San Jose (3rd place in the Division) was 237 Goals for and 207 Goals against

    So we need to generate 38 more goals, and knock 35 goals against.

    Its not simple math, but I think we’re getting really close if we can get 97 healthy and productive all year, and maybe even eliminate a few more of the minus players. A couple that come to mind:

    Shultz – was a disaster at -20 (and only 10 points in 45 games) and we rid ourselves of that already.

    Mark Letestu -21
    Lauri Korpikoski -17
    Nail Yakupov -16

    Eliminate some of the defensive liability, either by enforcing defensive habits or limit the ice-time.

    I really think this is moving in the right direction. It sucks to lose a really offensive player that makes the game exciting with his skill, but in the end it is about the right mix of offense and defence to get you into that divisional top 3.

    What’s next Chia? Even with Lucic and Demers there’s no way you are done.

    On the Hamilton comparison – he was a -14 last year with a decent 42 points, basically a wash.

    • 786

      While I agree with Jason it’s difficult to respect the organization that keeps clowns like Lowe, Mact and Howson after they literally destroyed a once proud hockey club, I don’t understand why he sees the trade as sort of a punishment to Hall or Hall being used as a scapegoat.

      Unfortunately Hall is the price they have to pay to get Larsson. That’s the market price. Do you think if PC can get the same return for Eberle or RNH, he wouldn’t have done it? I don’t think PC holds anything against Hall. He just paid the price he had to to address a key deficiency in the organization. Unfortunately market condition decides it’s Hall.

      Don’t understand why Hall also sees the trade as almost an insult to him. It’s business, not personal.

  • mithaman

    I’m sorry Taylor. Chiarelli traded the wrong guy. If he wanted Larsson that badly he had other pieces he could have moved. He made a mistake by choosing you. It really hurts today to lose my favourite player. You are a championship player and one of the few players who represented what was actually good about this team.

    Best of luck to you in NJ. The silver lining is you’re away from this bloody mess.

    • Cowbell_Feva

      Championship player?

      He was on a stacked lineup in Juniors in Windsor and won 2 Memorial Cups….in the World Juniors was it him who put Canada on his back (2 years in a row) or this other winger we STILL have in Edmonton wearing #14???

      If Hall is as elite as you and Gregor think he is, why isn’t he playing for Canada in September? Or the past Olympics?

      Oh, right, because some people are still bull headed enough to actually think MacT and K LOWE are running the organization….but they aren’t Canada’s best GMS selecting players to represent Canada….and they didn’t like Hall either!

      Maybe they see what I see. A ultra talented kid with zero hockey IQ that was told he was the best his whole life. I’ve never seen a guy this “elite” end up on his ass twice a shift and get caught with his head down regularly. Let’s not start with the hissy fits. He pissed off Eakins with water bottle gate. Same with Renney after Hall was caught on HNIC questioning his coach about pulling the goalie. Oh and McL benched him last year too due to the same behaviour. And some people wanted that cancer as the Captain!

      I’m fine seeing Hall gone. The true leader is #97. I for one won’t miss the drive down the wing and miss wide and clear the zone 4 times a game. Adios Taylor. But the Oilers are better off once Lucic gets here.

      Lucic + Larsson > Hall