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Oilers trade Hall to Devils for Larsson

New Jersey adds offense; Edmonton fills need for right-shot defender

by Derek Van Diest / Correspondent

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers paid a big price to acquire a much-needed, puck-moving, right-shot defenseman, trading No. 1 pick Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Adam Larsson on Wednesday.

Hall, 24, was the first pick in the 2010 NHL Draft and had 26 goals and 65 points in 82 games this season. The left wing had 132 goals and 328 points in six seasons with Edmonton, scoring at least 20 goals four times.

"It's disappointing; I was there for six seasons, so you certainly develop a relationship with the team and the city and with the fans," Hall said. "I'm disappointed that I'm not going to be able to see that through. But I'm excited that I'm going to be able to play for a team that wants me. It's not that Edmonton didn't want me, but I certainly do feel a bit slighted by the whole thing. In saying that, I'm excited for New Jersey and I'm excited for the chance that's in front of me now."

Hall was the cornerstone of the Oilers' rebuild after making it to Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final and the first of four No. 1 picks by Edmonton, which also selected forwards Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011), Nail Yakupov (2012) and Connor McDavid (2015) first in the draft.

Video: Taylor Hall Heading to New Jersey

"Taylor has been a long-standing member here, a very good player here, and he's a guy that leaves everything on the ice and I respect that," Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli said. "In the last four or five months, I've been very public in saying that we're looking for some defensemen, we really have to shore up our defense, and we pounded the pavement, and this is the price that you have to pay."

Hall adds needed offense to the Devils' lineup. They were last in NHL scoring this season, averaging 2.22 goals per game. New Jersey's leading scorer, Kyle Palmieri, with 30 goals and 57 points, can become an restricted free agent Friday.

"I was a little bit shocked," Hall said. "You hear rumblings going on throughout the [2016 NHL Draft] and afterwards, and certainly when it happened, you're just a little bit shocked, but I'm excited for the challenge and I'm excited for a new team that wants me there."

Hall will be reunited with Devils center Adam Henrique. They were teammates with Windsor of the Ontario Hockey League, where they won back-to-back Memorial Cup championships in 2009 and 2010.

"Taylor is a dynamic player with speed and youth that changes the complexion of our team," New Jersey general manager Ray Shero said. "We feel he fits into the direction we wanted to go a year ago, which is that fast, supportive and attacking style."

Video: VAN@EDM: Hall finishes off a great rush to pad lead

Hall played for Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Hockey Championship, winning a second consecutive gold medal. He was Edmonton's representative at the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game in Nashville.

"It's unfortunate that it's a player of Taylor's caliber, but we're getting a really good player back," Chiarelli said. "Adam is 6-foot-3 and I think he's 210 pounds now. He's a very smart player and it took him a little while to get going, but he had a terrific year this past year. He moves the puck, he defends well, he can log a lot of minutes, he can play 25, 27, 28 minutes. He can match up against all the top forwards, he can move the puck, and he has more skill to show also.

"It's unfortunate that in these deals this is what you have to do, but this is a player that I watched closely this year and I can see his game trending up and it was time to act on it."
Larsson, 23, was the No. 4 pick in the 2011 NHL Draft. He had three goals and 15 assists in 82 games this season, playing predominantly on New Jersey's top defense pair with Andy Greene. Larsson has nine goals and 64 points in 274 NHL games.

"I'm pretty shocked right now, but I'm pretty excited to come to Edmonton," Larsson told Oilers radio. "This trade was a surprise to me, but at the same time, I know how this business works. I know I'm going to a really young team and they have a couple of Swedes there. I'm excited. It's always shocking to get traded, but seeing the positive side, they have a lot of young players there and I think I'm going to fit in pretty good."

Video: CGY@NJD: Larsson scores from point-blank range in 1st

Larsson averaged an NHL-career high 22:30 per game this season. He is expected to play on the Oilers top pair, Chiarelli said.

Edmonton finished 29th in the NHL this season and did not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 10th consecutive season. It hired Chiarelli on April 24, 2015, nine days after he was fired by the Boston Bruins.

The Oilers are moving into a downtown arena, Rogers Place, next season.

"My roots aren't as deep in this organization as Taylor's, so I respect his emotions and respected his play and his competitiveness, and he'll have a real good career going forward in New Jersey," Chiarelli said. "There's a pedigree and labels attached to certain players, and they're earned and Taylor has that, and the player that we acquired doesn't have that, just by virtue of his development curve. But he has the requisite skill set, he has the passion, he has the size, he has the skill, so it's something that I believe in this player and he's going to really help us."

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