When the off-season began, the Edmonton Oilers and GM Peter Chiarelli made it known acquiring a defenseman was their top priority. On Wednesday, they got one -- but paid a very steep price.
The Oilers sent left winger Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Adam Larsson in a stunning 1-for-1 trade.
Hall, 24, scored 26 goals in 2015-16 and has averaged 23.2 goals over his five full NHL seasons. He was the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft, and has developed into an elite goal-scoring winger at even strength, and was in consideration for Canada's team at the World Cup. He is under contract until 2019-20 at an annual cap hit of $6 million.
Larsson, 23, is a solid, if unspectacular defenseman who will not impress with point totals. He has nine career NHL goals in 274 games, four at even strenght in the last four seasons. His possession metrics don't jump out either. In 2015-16, he was ranked 613th in relative Corsi among players with at least 200 minutes played. Larsson is under contract until 2020-21 at $4.1 million per season.
Expect Chiarelli to be taken to task for the trade. He dealt a star winger for a defenseman who, while an upgrade for the Oilers, isn't the sure-thing, No. 1 pairing D-man Chiarelli said he sought.
Chiarelli has now traded both the No. 1 and No. 2 picks from the 2010 NHL draft. While GM of the Bruins, Chiarelli traded Tyler Seguin to the Stars for Loui Eriksson, Joe Morrow, Reilly Smith, and Matt Fraser.
While the trade looks bad on paper, there may be more moves to come for the Oilers. Maybe the moderate cap savings will allow the Oilers to land a big fish in free agency. Milan Lucic is rumored to be a prime target for the Oilers. Lucic denied that a deal was already in place. Still, Lucic would not replace what the Oilers lost in Hall.