The Oilers shook up their roster Wednesday by sending Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for defenceman Adam Larsson.
Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli spoke to the media following the trade to give his perspective. Chiarelli called it a “need-based” trade, bringing in a potential top-pairing, right-shot defenceman, which is something the Oilers were very focused on acquiring this off-season.
On Thursday, Devils GM Ray Shero spoke with Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now to give his thoughts on the trade. He feels it’s a trade that both teams greatly benefit from, while the Oilers have a bigger margin of error due to their depth up front.
“It’s quite obvious (Chiarelli) was looking for a defenceman and it’s quite obvious how hard it is to get a defenceman, let alone under term,” said Shero. “With getting Adam Larsson, Adam is 6-3, 220 pounds and he is a heavy player. He’s young, he’s an incredible pro. Outside of Connor McDavid, I’m not trading him for anyone else. That’s difficult to get.
“Peter has been doing this for a lot of time and he’s smart. I can’t speak for him, but he’s trying to build a team. In the salary cap system, it’s not about if you trade two for one the best team won the deal by getting the best player. It doesn’t happen anymore. It’s about a team, it’s a team game, a salary cap and you have to have the assets. With Peter, he’s got more margin for error in this deal than I do because of all the guys they’ve got coming up front and now drafting a pretty good Finn fourth overall.”
By moving Larsson, the Devils are now without the player who played the second-most average minutes on the roster and one who paired with Andy Greene to match up against the toughest competition.
“I don’t have the margin for error on defence by trading Adam Larsson. I don’t have that depth yet. Then, for Taylor Hall, I’ve got to take that chance in terms of where we need to go and become a successful team. But again, now I’m faced with a hole on defence that I didn’t have a couple days ago. At the end, a little pain for both teams probably but that’s why it should pay off for both.”
Although Shero traded him in the end, he’s still a fan.
“I’m really a huge fan of Adam Larsson,” he said. “I had him one year and this kid is not going to disappoint you. Expectation wise, I wouldn’t compare him to Taylor Hall. It’s completely different. But you’re building the team you want to build from the back end, the big, heavy player who is a true pro, who plays against the top players, who kills penalties and he can bring some offence. We never put him in that role because he was always a shut-down guy with Andy Greene here. I think you’re going to be pleasantly surprised.”