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:
I'm preparing for one of the worst trades of the modern era here.
— Travis Yost (@travisyost) June 29, 2016
Hall for Adam Larsson straight up? There's maybe 20 D-men I'd trade Hall for straight up. Larsson isn't within a $5 cab ride of that list
— Robin Brownlee (@Robin_Brownlee) June 29, 2016
When did Adam Larsson become a No. 1 defenceman?
— Terry Jones (@byterryjones) June 29, 2016
Never in my life have I seen something so unavoidably stupid, and I almost lost my arm on a trampoline once.
— Matt Henderson (@Archaeologuy) June 29, 2016
Anyone can debate trade. But hard to trust an organization that continually employs people who guided team to 10 years without playoffs.
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) June 29, 2016
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
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.