On a day when the Habs swapped superstar defensemen with Nashville in PK Subban for Shea Weber and Steven Stamkos decided he was staying put in Tampa Bay, the New Jersey Devils made a blockbuster deal of their own. The Devils have sent defenseman Adam Larsson to the Edmonton Oilers for left wing Taylor Hall.
Hall is young, just 24-years-old and is just what the doctor ordered for the Devils offensively. The number one overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, he has spent six years in the Oilers organization according to the Devils’ press release and, in 381 NHL games, has 132 goals and 196 assists for 328 points. The Devils’ press release also mentions that he led Edmonton in scoring three of the last four years and has been top three each of the six seasons he has played with the Oilers.
The 6-foot, 1-inch, 200-point Calgary native was an All-Star this past year, representing the Oilers in Nashville and has also represented Canada at the 2010 World Junior Championship (where they won the silver) and won gold medals at the World Championship in 2015 and 2016. He has represented Canada at the World Championship a total of three times.
Hall played junior hockey with the Winsor Spitfires, where he was a teammate of Adam Henrique. The Spitfires won two OHL championships and two Memorial Cups while Hall was there (2009 and 2010).
But more importantly than anything, the Devils get a goal scorer out of this, a dynamic player who can put the puck in the net. Losing Larsson on the backend is disappointing, but that is why you stockpile guys, to fill needs in trades if you have to. Many hope that Steve Santini will be able to grow into a top d-man on the NHL level in order to fill voids. As one commenter on a message board I visited put it: Cory Schneider is good enough to make up for mistakes by the defense, but he can’t score goals for the team. And it’s true, Cory is a world-class goalie, he can more than uphold his end of the bargain. The Devils needed scoring and they needed it now.
The Devils had a backlog on the blueline and were able to parlay it into one of the NHL’s top goal scorers. Again, although losing Larsson is tough, this was too good a deal for Ray Shero to not make.
The Devils were 30th in the NHL in scoring. Now, with Hall, Henrique, if Michael Cammalleri stays healthy and they can re-sign Kyle Palmieri, the Devils seem a little bit more threatening up front. Add in what the Devils may be able to do on July 1, when free agency starts (the Devils are still working with significant cap room).
Plus, this gives the team some buzz. Fans will be interested to see what this superstar can do, if he is as good as people say he is. Fans will show up to see a superstar. It gets some interest in the team.
One-for-one, this is a fantastic trade for both teams. Edmonton needed solid D and the Devils needed scoring. Both team’s needs were served here. Larsson should also have an easier time settling in playing behind someone like Connor McDavid scoring in front of him while Hall will (hopefully) become even more of a star in New Jersey, as he will (again, hopefully) score a lot of goals for a team that needs them.
Suddenly, the playoffs seem a little bit more plausible.
Good luck to Adam Larsson in Edmonton and welcome to New Jersey, Taylor Hall!