Devils make a splash acquiring Taylor Hall from Oilers for Adam Larsson

Benoit Pouliot scored a big goal for the Oilers against the Kings putting the defending champs on the brink. They must win at Calgary tomorrow. AP Photo by Jason Franson/The Canadian Press

Grand Larceny: Taylor Hall (right) is now a Devil after they stole him from the Oilers for Adam Larsson.

The Devils have made a huge splash two days before the free agent frenzy. Needing to bolster their offense, general manager Ray Shero has acquired Taylor Hall from the Oilers for Adam Larsson.

In a stunning move that shook up the hockey world, New Jersey just improved their team leaps and bounds. While it is hard to give up Larsson, who developed into a top pair shutdown defenseman, you have to give to get. Shero was willing to take the risk. It’s the kind of ballsy move a smart executive does without hesitation.

In adding the ultra talented Hall, the Devils finally have a star player who can both score and set up goals. The 24-year old led the Oilers in goals (26), assists (39) and points (65) in 82 games this past season. The former 2010 number one overall pick was put on the block with rumors circulating that Edmonton was hot after July 1 free agent Milan Lucic. With the club needing to address their back end, they were willing to part with Hall to get Larsson. A steady right-handed smooth skating defenseman who can fill a void.

While the 23-year old Larsson has never evolved offensively, he’s the kind of skating and positional defenseman who teams crave in today’s game. The Oilers had been after him for a while. The former Devils’ 2011 fourth overall selection completed ’15-16 with three goals, 15 assists, 77 penalty minutes and a plus-15 rating in a full 82.

In terms of contract status, Larsson is signed thru 2021 with an average cap hit of $4.167 million. He’ll team with Darnell Nurse as Edmonton’s projected top pair followed by Oscar Klefbom and Andrej Sekera if he isn’t moved.

As for Hall, he is signed thru 2020 and makes $6 million per year. 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? Granted. They boast plenty of scoring led by emerging superstar Connor McDavid followed by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Leon Draisaitl. They also had Finnish prospect Jesse Puljujarvi fall into their lap at number four thanks to the Blue Jackets’ lunacy.

If you’re a Devil fan, you gotta be psyched. Suddenly, you have a much better lineup up front. Built around Hall, Adam Henrique, whose production should spike, Mike Cammalleri, Kyle Palmieri, Reid Boucher, Devante Smith-Pelly and Travis Zajac, the Devils have the look of a playoff team. Don’t forget Joseph Blandisi and future star Pavel Zacha.

The blue line will take a hit. But they still have Andy Greene, Damon Severson, Jon Merrill and John Moore. They do have some guys in the system. Seth Helgeson and Raman Hrabarenka and Steven Santini. However, keep in mind the Devils also have plenty of cap space. So, if they want to upgrade the back end, it should be no problem.

There’s only one thing you can conclude. This is a home run for the Devils. Shero hit it out of the park. As for the Oilers, that’s why they’re the Oilers. A dysfunctional organization in a utter state of chaos.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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5 Responses to Devils make a splash acquiring Taylor Hall from Oilers for Adam Larsson

  1. levinakl says:

    Don’t forget that the prospects of what Steve Santini and Damon Severson have to offer allowed Shero the luxury of even thinking about moving Larsson. Larsson will be missed and will thrive in Edmonton, count on it, but this is still a deal the Devils had to make.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. hasan4978 says:

    Glad you were around to do this…my head’s still spinning. I didn’t even know about the Stamkos or Subban/Weber stuff when I got home and was just wrapping my brain around this.

    Helgeson and Hraberenka (who wasn’t qualified) aren’t any big deal and you forgot about Santini who is one of their biggest prospects, got a taste of the NHL at the end of the year and is perhaps ready to play in the league if not this year surely next. And he’s a RH defenseman too. So’s Josh Jacobs who was on Sarnia’s first pairing with Chichyrun this year.


    • Derek Felix says:

      True. My laptop was acting weird. So, I just tried to get the story up. I knew I forgot Santini. Just couldn’t remember the name. Jacobs is good. I know that. I followed him a bit. If you like, put something up on the future of the blue line.


  3. hasan4978 says:

    Yeah that’s probably a good idea…I’m just afraid something else will happen while I’m typing it lol


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