The Edmonton Oilers have traded left wing Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Adam Larsson.
Hall was drafted by the Oilers first overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He has spent all six of his NHL seasons in Edmonton. In 82 games played last season, he had 26 goals, 39 assists, 65 points, and averaged 19:12 of ice time per game. In 381 career NHL games, Hall has 132 goals, 196 assists, 328 points and has averaged 18:58 of ice time per game. Hall never made it to the playoffs during his time with Edmonton.
Hall will add a much needed offensive force to the Devils, who were ranked last in goals for per game played at 2.22. New Jersey also only scored 182 goals last season as a team, which again was ranked last in the League. The left winger has top six talent and can even be put on the Devils top line. Hall will improve the Devils’ power play since he has a decent shot and no fear of going to the net to get rebound opportunites. He has had 20 or more goals in four of his six NHL seasons played to go with 50 or more points in four of his six NHL seasons. The last time that the Devils had a top notch scorer was back in 2012 when they had Zach Parise on the team.
The left winger can skate and plays with speed, which is needed to play in today’s NHL. The one downside of him is that he isn’t the best in his own zone. He worked to improve on his defensive zone coverage last season while playing for Todd McLellan. Hall will bring energy to the lineup along with his goal scoring ability. The 24-year-old led the Oilers in scoring in three of the last four seasons, and he finished in the top three in all six seasons that he played for Edmonton. Hall has four years remaining on his contract with a $6 million cap hit per season. He has thanked Edmonton and has indicated that he is excited for the new opportunity.
On the flip side, Peter Chiarelli, who has been involved now in trades of both the first and second picks from the 2010 Draft, is hoping that Larsson can continue to get better and be a top defenseman. In 82 games last season, Larsson had three goals, 15 assists, 18 points, was a +15 and averaged 22:31 of ice time per game. He had his breakout season last year and the 22:31 of ice time per game was a career high. In 274 games, he has nine goals, 60 assists, 69 points, is a +13 and averages 20:39 of ice time per game. He has one goal in five career playoff games.
Larsson is expected to be one of the top defensemen for the Oilers this season. He can move the puck and log a ton of minutes. The defenseman is poised and has good size. He has a good point shot that he doesn’t utilize enough with only 65 shots on goal last season. Larsson is more of a defensive defenseman, who doesn’t mind throwing his body around, when needed. He doesn’t seem to mind getting in the way of opponents shots either.
Larsson will help the defensive corps, but there are still questions on the blue line for the Oilers. The move also gives Chiarelli more flexibility to go and sign an unrestricted free agent to try and replace Hall. The rumors have been that the Oilers could possibly sign Milan Lucic to a contract and that would make sense given that Chiarelli used to be the general manager of one of Lucic’s former teams, the Boston Bruins. Larsson has four years left on his current contract, which comes with a cap hit of $4,166,666 per season.
The Devils are the winner of the trade right now since Hall should have an immediate impact on the team. The Oilers didn’t get as much back for Hall as they maybe could have, but did get a decent return. Chiarelli overpaid for a defenseman that he hopes can keep improving his game and become a number one defenseman in the league.