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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:

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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.

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  • Frank Rizza

    I liked the trade last year because I was sick of losing and I wanted the dynamic of the team to change. I was always a Hall fan but something was off. If it wasn’t him almost never entering a scrum or almost never defending a teammate or his teammates never defending him. Whatever it was, it wasn’t working.

    I had also watched Larsson at least 5 times that year. Twice against the Oil and 3 times against the Rangers for sure. He shut down Mcdavid and Hall those two games they never had a sniff. The Devils game 2 seasons ago was my last game at Rexall and the score was a 2-1 devils boring shut down defensive NJ game and Larsson was great that night too.

    I thought Hallsy could’ve got us a pick on top but it’s not like Pete said “hey I have a deal with LA for Doughty and a deal with NJ for Larsson, but I really wanna piss off some morons at Oilersnation so let’s make it Larsson”. That’s obviously what the market was.

  • ed from edmonton

    Trade couldn’t have worked out better. Larssen exactly the player the Oil needed. Hall has great talent, but I gotta say I cringed every timed he handled the puck inside his blueline.

    Only criticism is that didn’t hadn’t also asked for a swap of 1st round picks in 2017. LOL

  • 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.

  • Harry2

    At the time with all honestly I can say thatvI liked te trade. And I was a huge Hall supporter. With McD on board Hall became a great trade chip. I think he was over rated especially around OilersNation. For a “scoring winger” the guy has never put up 30 goals.

    The thing that made me like the trade even more was watching the two after the fact. Hall pissed and moaned and Larsson went to work. Seriously, its was so nice to finally see in what seems like forever a dman continuosly break up cycles and make people pay the price.

    All in all I believe Hall is over rated. Hes an above average forward but not an elite one.

    In todays game you have to have defencemen more than skilled forwards. Just ask Dallas.

  • nuge2drai

    Top pair locked in long term at 9 Million a year.

    Thank you Mr.Chiarelli.

    Who knows maybe Hall will resign here in a couple years for a shot at the cup. (One can dream)

  • freelancer

    It’s possible to lose a trade but win the war. The Oilers made the playoffs laat season and the Devils didn’t. While I still think the Oilers lost the better player the trade accomplished filling a hole the Oilers desperately needed to fill.

  • Rugbypig

    Was sorry to lose Hall and knew nothing about Larsson.
    Then the season started and the real reason for Larsson became apparent.
    Now I am still sad but accept the trade and appreciate the talent that Larsson has.
    The Oilers are a better team today based on just that trade alone.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • tkfisher

    Love Larsson, but still hate the trade. There is an argument to be made that Hall shouldn’t have been the guy to go. I still find it hard to believe that at that time, Eberle couldn’t have been the basis for the trade. Obviously today that wouldn’t be the case, but one year ago, I find it hard to believe that Eberle and a Second (the Benson pick) wouldn’t have gotten that trade done. It also could have potentially prevented the Lucic signing, which although manageable today, will likely hurt like hell 3 years from now. Love the dman, will always hate the trade.

  • Adam Laskaris

    The trade was a bad one.
    You know what cost the Oilers in the playoffs?
    Lack of depth scoring.
    You know what the Oilers traded away in back to back offseasons? Two of the best complementary pieces in the league in order to get worse players.
    Larsson is fine and works well in the Oilers system well and all that, but the fact is even Taylor Hall’s “bad season” this year on one of the league’s worst offensive team would have been third on the Oilers in scoring.
    The Oilers could’ve won a Cup this season with Hall as their third best forward. The Penguins did it with an NHL defence and a run and gun style.
    It was a bad trade and Chia is a bad GM being carried by McDavid.

    • Reg Dunlop

      Have to agree it was a horrific trade. Just brutal asset management. Of course, it was just a coincidence that the Devils dropped 14 points and 4 spots in the standings. And , of course, it was a fluke that the Devils scored ONE more goal with Hallsie-baby but allowed 36 more than the Larsson version. And then there is that annoying 33 point improvement for the Oil along with the goals against decrease of32. Those are just meaningless stats. The trade was a bad one, right Adam?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Slapnuts

    Was hoping chiarelli would try acquire Ryan Murphy, now treliving is starting to wipe the floor with chiarelli. I don’t like the russell signing, HUGE mistake 1. No power play QB mistake 2. I fully expect EDM to stand pat or do very little during free agency or trade’s mistake 3. Going into next season as is, I fully expect a regression of this team

  • Anton CP

    I don’t think that I have the problem with this trade last year, it was one of those trade that you understand why and how but at the same time that you hope it would be a little bit more.

    Top pairing RHS D is so hard to find and it won’t be cheap when you desperately need one, I fully believe that Hall was not first offered but the other side will not just settle with either Nuge nor Eberle. Since McDavid is untouchable that other teams will ask for the second best player on the team. Here’s the thing, are you a fan of the Oilers or are you a fan of just some hockey players?

  • RJ

    If you go back and look at the commentary, Chia was desperate to shore up the blueline and New Jersey took advantage of him.

    New Jersey got the better player. The Oilers finally got a decent RHD. After years of Jultz and Fayne it was nice to see decent defence in Edmonton.

    A year later, the Oilers still got taken to the woodshed in their desperation for a RHD, but Larsson has been solid.

    I’d add one other point: with the massive signings of McDavid and Drai coming, it really would have been great to have another prospect going into draft+2.

  • 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!