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Photo Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Looking back at the Taylor Hall trade for the last time I promise

It was one year ago that the Oilers shook things up around here as it was announced that Peter Chiarelli had traded Taylor Hall to New Jersey for Adam Larsson. Today, I want to look back at that trade with the benefit of 12 months of hindsight.

If you read the trade announcement article that I wrote a year ago it wasn’t hard to see that I was not a big fan of the deal. Actually, that trade pissed off a sizeable chunk of Oilers fans to the point that that same article is one of our most commented on items ever in the history of the site. The general consensus was that Peter Chiarelli got fleeced on the trade that sent the face of the franchise away for a player that most of us hadn’t really seen or heard much about. That unknown was enough to piss off the Nation and have most of the hockey world questioning what the hell was going on around here. Don’t believe me?

Let’s take a look back at some of the reaction:

Needless to say, Peter Chiarelli wasn’t going to win any popularity contests around here. That said, it’s funny how things change after actually watching him play.

LEARNING ABOUT LARSSON

Apr 18, 2017; San Jose, CA, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Adam Larsson (6) throws a punch at San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski (8) during the third period in game four of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. The Sharks won 7-0. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

One thing that I will readily admit is that I didn’t know nearly enough about Adam Larsson before getting pissed off about the trade. All I knew for sure was that Taylor Hall is one of the best left-wingers in the league and that it seemed like a hefty price to pay for a defenceman that was somewhat unproven. What I didn’t know is just how physical Adam Larsson can be and how he’s able to calm things down around the crease like a player with far more years under their belt.

Over the course of the 2016-17 season, Larsson found himself as the yin to Oscar Klefbom’s yang as the pair built a strong chemistry while also playing big minutes on a night-in-night-out basis. Larsson’s laid back approach allowed Klefbom to venture further up the ice and further develop his ability as a two-way defenceman. On paper, Larsson and Klefbom SHOULD have matched well but seeing it actually happen was fun to watch and having them both locked in at under $9 million is a great value for the Oilers.

While Larsson will never be the puck-moving defenceman that the Oilers are still looking to find, he undoubtedly brought a sound brand of defensive hockey to a team that was as porous as they come. In the playoffs, Larsson was a workhorse that Todd McLellan could depend on and I’m sure that role will only expand as he moves forward in his career with the Oilers. The next step is to wait and see if the big Swede can add tools to the toolbox that make his game a little bit more well-rounded.

WHAT SAY YOU?

Now that we’ve had a year to watch Adam Larsson and get over the shock of the trade, I want to know what you think now that the dust has settled? How long did it take you to get over the anger and open up to Adam Larsson? Personally, I still think that Chiarelli should have pushed for draft picks or something to go along with Larsson, but I’m not mad anymore that he didn’t get them and I can understand why Larsson was a target. For as little as we knew about him a year ago, it’s hard not to appreciate him now that we see all of the good things that he does on the ice.

And before someone in the comments section tells me to get over it — I am over it — but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t look back on one of the biggest trades in our website’s history.

  • Hemmercules

    I have mostly good memories of Hall. I liked having him on the team and he was a really good player most of the time. When McD arrived I wasnt heartbroken to see anyone go, even Hall. Whatever they were building with him here wasn’t working. Now Larson is probably my favourite dman on the team, path goes too flashy, a beast in the corners. What’s not to like. Maybe a little more offence of course but he is Jason smith part 2.

  • Ranford.85

    Losing Hall sucked. “Bad trade” but Chia told us, that’s the best we could get to significantly improve our D. That being said, Larsson exceeded all of my/our expectations and I don’t miss Hallsy one bit. Hell… even Ebs is gone. It’s Connor’s team now. Everyone needs to move on… I think it’s time to put this to rest.

  • sumo

    Bad trade, Chiarelli rushed things. Just think where Oilers’d be today had he signed Demers and kept Hall…
    1. They’d probably have still made the playoffs, it would have helped the negotiations for Draisaitls new contract.
    2. Now they are relying heavily on Drai being able to handle his own line, Hall was a proven driver of offense).
    3. Oilers would have the option this year of trading either Hall of Drai for a better defensemen, one of both having come off good playoff runs which upped their perceived value. Maybe Oilers could trade Draisaitl for Parayko:
    Maroon – Mcdavid –
    Hall – Nuge –

    Klefbom – Parayko
    Sekera – Demers
    Nurse – Benning

    • Mike Modano's Dog

      …if Demers WANTED to come here. That is a big if in the UFA scheme of things. If he didn’t want to come here then Chiarelli did what he needed to do…which I believe is the more likely scenario.

      I love Larsson, but I would have loved to sign Demers too if we could have!

  • Big Nuggets

    I liked Hall but I always felt he was overrated. I was always waiting for him to take that next steo and stop falling and turning the puck over with poor decisions. He got some points but I thibk we got fair value with Larsen.

  • Pouzar99

    First off, as any of my friends can tell you, I defended this trade as at least reasonable from Day 1. I never dreamed that in the first year it would be a total win for Chiarelli and the entire organization, of course. For this trade alone Chiarelli should have been voted the top hockey executive. It is only one year of course and things can change, although I believe Larsson is every bit as good as he looks. I expect Hall can do more for the Devils than he did this season, but we were desperate for a quality right-shot D man and Larsson was superb. I still cannot believe that there are folks out there who still hate this deal. Hey, I liked the original Reinhart deal on Day One and was dead wrong and have come to admit it.

  • FISTO Siltanen

    Imagine the cojones Chiarelli needed to trade a fan favourite like Hall to get a player who made the team better but the fans would freak out about.

    They expected Pronger 2.0 and got Jason Smith and yet he was fearless in pulling it off. And the team was better for it.

  • Not a First Tier Fan

    At the time of the trade I was cautiously optimistic. Conventional wisdom, and a lot of raging Oiler fans, said that we lost the trade. But I was happy to see that we finally had a GM that was willing to buck all that and make the move that would improve the team and fill a glaring weakness that had been crippling us for a decade.

    Watching the end result last year as the team outdid all expectations was priceless. If you look at the product the Oilers put out last year as compared to the last few previous years and don’t think the Oilers improved by the trade then you’re either blind or an idiot. And if a trade improves a team, then the GM has done his job.

    I feel the same way about the moves Chiarelli has made so far this summer. Those that say The jokers down in Calgary are outperforming him this year better hope the Shames live up to their expectations the next couple years. Because after that the future in Calgary isn’t too bright. I’ll take a GM that doesn’t trade away the franchise’s future thank you very much.

  • Robert (AKA Hockey Fan)

    I love the trade for many reasons. Taylor Hall is a good player….just not a team player. I get he scored 20 goals on a bad New Jersey team, Adam Larrson though played a great team game and did not try to do too much and play to his game. I would think Jersey would be missing Larrson alot more than we are missing Taylor Hall. The Oilers are a way better team now and I can’t wait for the season to start!

  • Spaceman Spiff

    The biggest lesson that I’ve learned in the year since the Hall/Larsson trade is that, no matter how big social media gets, no matter how many blog posts are written, no matter how many stories are filed, no matter how many live-hits are done on TV and radio … none of that constitutes the “marketplace.”

    In other words, just because there are more avenues and places for fans and media to discuss players and who-should-be-moved-for-whom, none of those avenues and places amount to a hill-of-beans for NHL general managers.

    We all thought that Hall was worth P.K. Subban. Turns out that Montreal disagreed. We all thought that Hall was worth at least a front-line defenceman and maybe some draft picks. The rest of the league didn’t think so, either.
    Nope … the trade has once again reinforced the fact that as big and loud and varied-in-opinion that our fandom is … it is still basically an echo chamber. GMs like Peter Chiarelli have to go out and work in an actual marketplace of 29 other GMs who set the value of players based simply on what they’ll say “yes” or “no” to.

    A year ago, the GM’s marketplace spoke. It would be Larsson for Hall. No more, no less.

    Luckily, Larsson turned out to be a pretty good player – further proof that just because we’re more connected to the goings-on in the rest of the league, there are players far away from us that we don’t necessarily know as much about as we thought.

    Larsson’s a warrior and I’m glad to have him on the team. Too bad that Hall’s gone and I wish him well. But we move on and we keep the echo chamber humming.

  • The idea people have that an improved team this year proves that this was a good trade is strange to me.

    I am a fan of Larsson. I was talking about trying to get him for 2 years before the trade ever happened, but losing value in trade in the name of roster makeup, or balance, or whatever term you want to use is how bad franchises are run.

    People keep talking about it being the necessary price to get that kind of defenseman, but the evidence repeatedly says otherwise. Edmonton is the only team paying that much. Constant overpays in both trades and contracts are piling up with other decisions like downgrading the offense to pay for a defense that already wasn’t good enough.

  • 916oiler

    It’s still as bad of a trade as it was then. Ya, of course we needed better defense. But when you trade away one of the most talented offensive weapons in the league, and don’t even get back a top 30 defenseman? I mean, at worst if you’re going to get Larsson back as the centerpiece of the deal, Hall was worth him plus a killer prospect and/or high pick – 1st or 2nd. At least. Is Larsson doing a good job? Hell yes he is, everything that was expected of him. This isn’t about him it’s about whether or not Chiarelli got anywhere near full value for Hall. And hell no, he did not, not even close.

    • themightypeace

      Bad trade yes… but I chalk it up to extortion during dire times. Imagine you are the lone survivor on a deserted island with $6M. A dangerous-looking shister floats by and offers you a box of macaroni for $6M. Do you take it?

      After years of mismanagement, the Oilers had no defensive core. Along comes Chiarelli who has been specifically hired to turn the team around. Chia and the rest of the NHL realized that Edmonton could not afford to wait a season for the perfect deal. It was a game of chicken and the Oilers had no choice but to blink first. The only way to avoid trades like this is to properly manage the team and not let it fall to shambles …

          • OilBlood

            Calling hall an 80 point player is like calling eberle a 70+ point player. He did it once over what 6 years?

            Anyways, what exactly did that 80 pt forward do for jersey?

            From what I can see jersey’s only big change was removing Larsson and adding Hall but they regressed in nearly everything possible from the year before.