Taylor Hall Traded to New Jersey for Adam Larsson

by Dobber on June 29, 2016

Fantasy Impact: The Edmonton Oilers traded winger Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Adam Larsson. Straight up one-for-one deal.

 

The Devils get: one of the premier left wings in the NHL. The 24-year-old (25 in the fall) plays an aggressive brand of hockey and he already has three 25-goal seasons under his belt. Hall is coming off the first full healthy season of his NHL career and with that comes a career high in shots on goal (286). Not only does Hall become New Jersey's best player, but he just might be their best player (skater) ever. Potentially. He's not there yet. More on this below.

 

The Oilers get: a highly-coveted right-handed shooting defenseman with a lot of upside with talent that was being wasted in New Jersey. Larsson was completely mishandled by the Devils, getting rushed into the NHL but not getting played. This finally stopped during the 2014-15 season and he started to show signs of breaking out offensively. In 2015-16, Larsson was held out of power-play opportunities and used strictly in a defensive capacity. This despite being New Jersey's most productive defenseman. 

 

Let's take a step back: The Internet just exploded and 100% of the venom was against Peter Chiarelli in the Oilers. I believe "fleeced" was a term commonly used. Was it a fleecing, though? I say no. Did the Oilers win the trade, as seemingly 100% of the Internet believes? I'm going to reserve judgment – mostly because if I say "no" here, I'll get shot. Could the Oilers have gotten more back for Hall? Absolutely. And that's really what the Internet is so angry about. They see a defenseman whose career high is three goals and 24 points and a forward who had 80 points just two years ago and they've drawn their conclusions. But let's look at some specifics.

1. Hall missed 17, 21, 3, 7, 29 and 0 games in his six seasons – averaging 69 games played per season. Larsson missed 17 and 0 games during his two full seasons, and prior to that he was scratched or in the minors for parts of the year. Both players are coming off full 82-game slates, but most people would agree that Hall gets hurt a little more.

2. Hall was drafted first overall in 2010. Larsson was drafted fourth overall in 2011, but Larsson was second on most lists that year. 

3. Hall is a star and a potential superstar. But dial down the rhetoric a little. He's not "Top 3" in the league, as I saw someone write. Or even "Top 10". He didn't get the call for Team Canada at the World Cup. Larsson didn't make Team Sweden, either.

4. Right-shooting defensemen are coveted

5. The Oilers save over $2 million in cap space, which is nothing to sneeze at. Teams have traded great prospects and draft picks just to shed that much. Those of you who think "they could have just traded Hall for Subban" are wrong. Subban would increase their cap by $3 million. This decreases the cap by $2 million. And Larsson is locked in at that salary too.

This deal is still about potential. Yes, Hall already gave us a glimpse of this potential when he achieved 80 points in 2013-14, but in two years since he's been a 65-point guy. The expectation for NHL fans and fantasy owners is that he'll of course get back to 80 points or even 90. Potentially.

So why can't fans offer the same kind of hope for Larsson? If this trade was done in 2011 or 2012, nobody would have blinked. So something happened in last four years that changed everyone's mind. And that thing that happened was: Hall tallied 80 points in a season, whereas Larsson was a complete no-show offensively. But Larsson not only saw no PP time (just 3.3% of New Jersey's available power-play time for the season! Don't believe me? It's right here!), but he also started just 31.8% of his 5-on-5 shifts outside of the offensive zone. That's a number that is rarely seen for this stat, it's so low. Larsson was also the defenseman, along with Andy Greene, who saw the toughest minutes on the team facing the strongest quality of competition (source). Larsson, 23, still has a lot of potential and I rate a strong 'buy'. Worth rolling the dice on.

 

Do you know what this trade reminds me of? July of 1995 when St. Louis traded Brendan Shanahan to the Hartford Whalers for Chris Pronger. Shanahan was two seasons removed from 102 points and Pronger had seasons of 30 and 14 points. If Twitter was around back then, the Blues would have been destroyed by fans. Brutal! They would have Tweeted. But looking back, did the Blues do okay? I should think so! Don't be too vocal panning this one, I think you'll be surprised how it turns out.

 

Fantasy Players Impacted: Larsson will be Edmonton's premier defensive defenseman and all the ice time that entails. His contract and draft pedigree will see to that. But will he get PP minutes as well? I think he will, unless Edmonton lands a better one somehow. Jason Demers, who is rumored to be about to sign there, is also a right-handed shot. But Larsson has more offensive talent and upside than Demers so I think Larsson is a good gamble for this year. Maybe not reach that potential that we once hoped for him, but certainly something that could see him flirt with 40 points or more.

Hall just went from playing with Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, to playing with Kyle Palmieri and Adam Henrique. You tell me which scenario is better. But that decline in production will be counterbalanced by his growth as a player and the natural improved production that entails. He could still be a point-per-game player, even with the Devils. But play it safe and count on 70 games, 65 points. He bumps Mike Cammalleri down the depth chart (but that's deserved) and possibly one of Reid Boucher or Joseph Blandisi right out of the lineup. Palmieri's production will improve. I don't think Henrique's numbers will improve though, and here's why: while he may start out on a line with Hall, I think it will be Pavel Zacha who gets there eventually. Travis Zajac will see some time there as well. Hall's centermen will rotate for this season until the Devils can settle on a good one down the road (perhaps Zacha will be ready).

The Oilers often went with four forwards and a defenseman on the power play. And that defenseman was usually Justin Schultz (who has since moved on) or Andrej Sekera. So Larsson probably bumps Sekera. Darnell Nurse will make his way to the power play in due time.

 

Fantasy Players this helps, in order:

1. Larsson (profile, stats here)

2. Palmieri (profile, stats here)

3. Henrique (profile, stats here)

4. Zacha (profile and scouting report here)

5. Zajac (profile, stats here)

 

Fantasy Players this hurts, in order:

1. Hall (profile, stats here)

2. Sekera (profile, stats here)

3. Nurse (profile, stats here)

 

 

Fun fact: With Taylor Hall being traded, each player of the 2010 first six draft picks have been traded prior to turning 25.

 

There's already nine pages of discussion in the forum on this. Have your say here!