Last season there was no doubt that the Edmonton Oilers won the blockbuster trade that general manager Peter Chiarelli made in acquiring defenseman Adam Larsson from the New Jersey Devils for Taylor Hall.
However as we are near the end of the regular season for year two of the deal, it has become evident that it might have been premature to come to the conclusion that the trade indeed benefited the Oilers.
There is no doubt that Larsson went through a traumatic experience the last six weeks. On January 25 Adam’s father Robert had a heart attack in Edmonton while visiting his son from Sweden. He died a week later at the age of 50. As a result, Larsson missed 10 games to deal with personal matters and to attend his father’s funeral in Sweden.
However even prior to the tragedy, it is fair to say that Larsson’s season in 2017-18 has not been as productive as it was in the 2016-17 regular season and the postseason, where he was a dynamic force. Now it is fair to say, the Oilers were never expecting much offense from Larsson, but you cannot ignore the fact that he had six postseason points last season in 13 games and only has eight regular season points in 47 games in 2017-18.
Taylor Hall meanwhile is exactly someone that the Oilers could use at the moment to play on the number one line with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. After only getting 53 points in 72 games in 2016-17 during his first year with the Devils, Hall has already set a career high in goals with 30 in 2017-18, and is only six points back of his career high 80 points he had with the Oilers in 2013-14.
The Devils are winning and have a legitimate chance of making the Stanley Cup playoffs this season for the first time since going to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012. At 76 points, the Devils have the seventh most points in the Eastern Conference and lead the Florida Panthers by five points for the final playoff spot.
These are also not your daddy’s New Jersey Devils who were known from the mid-1990’s to mid-2000’s for their boring style and defensive nature of play with sensational goaltending and hard bodychecking. The 2018 version of the Devils are exciting and two of their top catalysts are former Oilers—Hall and Patrick Maroon, who New Jersey acquired at the trade deadline from Edmonton. If the Devils have a productive playoff, there is no doubt that Hall and Maroon will both be catalysts in New Jersey’s success.