Was the Taylor Hall Trade Necessary for the Edmonton Oilers?

There have been some sub par trades in the history of the NHL but the Adam Larsson for Taylor Hall trade earlier this month is a real head scratcher.  On paper the is a bad trade for the Edmonton Oilers.  Sure the Oilers are in desperate need of a couple of top 4 defensemen, but trading Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson does nothing for the Edmonton Oilers.  It does not improve their team.  Especially with this misconception that the Oilers have a lot of firepower up front.  The Oilers are not a top offensive team, trading a guy who will score 25-30 goals per year is not going to get your team more offence quite the opposite actually.

Last season (2015-16), Taylor Hall lead the Oilers in goals (26), assists (39) and points (65).  The Oilers traded Hall for Adam Larsson arguably a number three or four defensemen who had three goals and fifteen assists for 18 points for the New Jersey Devils last season.  He was a +15 on the season while Taylor Hall was a minus 4 on a very bad Oilers team.


5 Things to Note About This Trade

  1. Adam Larsson was playing in front of a pretty decent goaltender in Cory Schneider in New Jersey.  He will not have that security blanket in Edmonton.
  2. Up until this past season neither Taylor Hall or Adam Larsson had played a full NHL season.  Larsson’s season high was 65 games in his rookie season and Hall played 75 games in 2013-14 a year in which he put up 80 points.
  3. The New Jersey Devils were 8th best in the league in terms of shots against last season averaging 28.6 per game; the Oilers were 26th averaging 31.1 shots per game, a difference of 8%.  Larsson should expect to see more rubber being fired in his end.
  4. Until Connor McDavid arrived in Edmonton, Taylor Hall was a leading candidate for captain of the Oilers.
  5. The Oilers have never not had a .500 season since 2008.  The past decade has been nothing but futility for the Oilers.  the Devils went to the Stanley Cup finals in 2012 losing four games to two versus the Los Angeles Kings.

Remember this About Taylor Hall

Taylor Hall is one of the top left wingers in the NHL today.  Adam Larsson is not one the the NHL’s best defensemen.  I’d argue that he’s probably not even in the top 60.  Here is a look at the stats of the top left-wingers in the NHL since Taylor Hall entered the league in 2010-2011.  Taylor Hall has the fifth highest Points-per-Game total of left-wingers in the NHL over the past six seasons.

Top NHL Left Wingers

Taylor Hall scored milestones points fairly quickly:

  • Reached 100 career NHL points on January 27, 2013
  • Reached 200 career NHL points on February 7, 2014
  • Reached 300 career NHL points on December 22, 2015

Hall vs Ovie

I don’t even know what to say about this trade anymore.  Some like TSN’s Craig Button called this a “necessary trade for the Edmonton Oilers”, other are astonished like most hockey fans:

The Hockey News: Can we make any sense of the Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson trade?

Toronto Star: Canada might be the loser in seismic NHL day: Arthur | Toronto Star

Edmonton Journal: The 16 essential quotes on Hall for Larsson trade.  With a couple of my favorite quotes being:

Travis Yost, TSN hockey analytics writer: “It’s official. Oilers solidify one of the worst trades I can ever remember. Certainly so in the modern era. Fireable offense.”

Bruce Arthur, Toronto Star columnist: “And people wonder why Canadian teams don’t win Stanley Cups anymore.”

Hockeybuzz.com: Only An Idiot Would Trade Taylor Hall – HockeyBuzz.com

Newyorkpuck.com: Devils make a splash acquiring Taylor Hall from Oilers for Adam Larsson.  Which includes another favorite quote:

On paper, it looks like a steal for the Devils. Getting this kind of significant talent for a solid two is grand larceny. What are the Oilers smoking?

What are the Oilers smoking indeed…  Prove me wrong Oilers, prove me wrong.  Taylor Hall will be missed as this is still one of the worst Edmonton Oilers trades of all-time.

So was the Taylor Hall trade necessary for the Edmonton Oilers?  I do not think so.  Taylor Hall should have been one of the franchise’s building blocks.  You cannot tell me that the Oilers could not have picked up Larsson for Benoit Pouliot or Leon Draisital?  This is a bad trade, like it’s almost as if someone whispered in Peter Chiarelli’s (Edmonton’s GM) ear “Hey Pete wouldn’t it be something if you traded Hallsy and Tyler Seguin?”  It’s nearly a month later and I am as shocked now as the day the trade was announced,  Good luck in New Jersey Taylor, you will do fine there.  The Oilers, well they are still in need of a top pairing defenseman.