The Edmonton Oilers have traded forward Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils for defenceman Adam Larsson.
The Oilers confirmed the trade in a tweet Wednesday afternoon.
Oilers General Manager Peter Chiarelli knows his team gave up a good player to add Larsson to their roster.
“The bottom line is you’re going to have to pay a good price for a good player,” Chiarelli said.
Watch below: Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli discusses trading Taylor Hall.
He said the former No. 1 overall draft pick was unhappy to hear he had been dealt.
“He was very disappointed, felt that he was part of the solution. I didn’t disagree with him. I just said, ‘this is the business. You have to make hard decisions.’ My roots aren’t as deep in this organization as Taylor’s so I respect his emotion.”
WATCH: Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli: Taylor Hall disappointed to be traded from Oilers
During a conference call with media, Hall admitted he was a little shocked.
“I do feel a bit slighted by the whole thing,” Hall said. “I feel like I have been a good solider for six years and I felt like I prepared the best I could and did as much as I could on the ice. At the end of the day they felt like they wanted to go another direction. Having said that there is an exciting opportunity in front of me and a new team that I’m excited to try and make better.”
Late Wednesday afternoon, Hall took to Twitter to express his gratitude for his time in Edmonton and to say he was excited about getting a chance to play with New Jersey.
“Obviously, Taylor has been a long-standing player here,” Chiarelli said, “but we need to shore up our defence.”
The GM said the team tried “to varying degrees” at the draft to facilitate a trade for a defenceman. When those attempts failed, Chiarelli had to make a hard call.
“It’s a needs-based trade,” he explained. “I feel very strongly about this player.”
Chiarelli said Larsson is a smart player who can log a lot of minutes. The GM watched him closely this year and said he’s really come into his own. He defended the deal against some of the heated response from Oilers fans.
“There’s a pedigree and label attached to certain players. Taylor has that and the player that we acquired doesn’t have that, but he does have the requisite skill set, size and passion.”
“He’s not a sexy defenceman,” the GM said. “He’s a really good defenceman… he’s not in the spotlight.”
Chiarelli also said Larsson’s salary cap number gives the Oilers some flexibility going forward.
WATCH: Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli offers description on new acquisition Adam Larsson
Hall, the first overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, had 26 goals and 39 assists in 82 games last season. In 381 career NHL games with the Oilers, he has 328 points (132-196) and has led the
team in scoring in three of the last four seasons.
The six-foot-one 200-pound Calgary native was an all-star last season. Hall, 24, won silver for Canada at the 2010 world junior championship and won gold at the last two world hockey championships.
Larsson, meanwhile, had 18 points (3-15) in 82 games last season for the Devils, who confirmed the deal in a news release.
The 23-year-old Swede has played parts of five seasons with New Jersey. He has 69 points (9-60) in 274 career NHL games.
In an interview with Bob Stauffer on 630 CHED, Larsson said he wasn’t expecting the trade.
“I’m excited. Totally shocking to get traded, but seeing the positive side… they’ve got a lot of good things going, a lot of god players. I think I will fit in pretty good.”
“It was a surprise to me, but at the same time I know how this business works,” Larsson said. “I think the overall feeling for me is I get to join a really young team and I know a couple Swedes there so I’m exciting. It’s always shocking to get traded but, seeing the positive side, they’ve got a lot of things going there with the young players.”
Leading up to the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, there was speculation the Oilers might trade their pick for a much-needed defenceman. That did not happen and the team selected right winger Jesse Puljujarvi.
Players like Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall have all been rumoured to be on the trading block, but it’s Hall who would most likely give Edmonton the best player in return.
The reaction on social media was swift. In fact, Taylor Hall was trending across Canada.
Watch below: It would be an understatement to say Oilers fans were not happy with the news the team had traded Taylor Hall on Wednesday. In fact, we can’t even put many of their social media responses on air. Emily Mertz has some online reaction that we can share, however.
Between 1:30 p.m. MST and 6 p.m., Hall was mentioned 54,000 times on Twitter. Conversation peaked at 1:35 p.m. when mentions were coming at 800 tweets per minute.
With files from The Canadian Press