The Edmonton Oilers have traded left wing Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Adam Larsson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The summer’s first blockbuster deal is complete and to say it’s a surprise is an understatement.
The Devils get a high-scoring left winger while the Oilers land a defenseman who could address their need for a top-pairing defenseman with a right-handed shot. That sounds fine, but when one considers it is Hall for Larsson straight up, it’s a head-scratching deal.
For the Devils, this is a significant acquisition. They need scoring punch on the wings and Hall will certainly give them that. Drafted first overall by the Oilers in 2010, Hall is among the NHL’s top left wings. He’s exceeded 50 points four times, including an 80-point campaign in 2013-14. Only 24, he’s yet to reach his playing prime.
Larsson, 23, is a right-shooting defenseman who has top-pairing experience. Whether he can fully address the Oilers need in that regard remains to be seen. He had a strong performance last season with the Devils. Before that, however, he struggled for a couple of seasons, earning a demotion to the AHL for a spell. If he can successfully adjust to his new club, this could be a worthwhile acquisition for the Oilers. If he struggles, however, GM Peter Chiarelli will feel the wrath of Edmonton fans and pundits.
One positive for the Oilers is they’re shedding nearly $2 million anually with this move. Hall’s annual salary-cap hit of $6 million runs through 2019-20. Larsson, meanwhile, will earn an annual average salary of over $4.16 million through 2020-21.
However, there’s speculation they could sign unrestricted free agent left wing Milan Lucic on July 1. Indeed, some reports claim it’s already a done deal and will be announced on July 1. This move suggests there’s validity to those reports. Should that occur, it could mollify those OIlers followers unhappy with this trade.