Edmonton Oilers: Did anyone win the Hall-Larsson trade?

Taylor Hall #71, Boston Bruins Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports
Taylor Hall #71, Boston Bruins Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports /
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Taylor Hall #71, Boston Bruins
Taylor Hall #71, Boston Bruins Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports /

This doesn’t happen a whole lot in the NHL, but once in awhile a trade comes along that is a complete miss for both teams. The Hall-Larsson trade has swung in both the Oilers and New Jersey directions at different times, but the proper way to judge many trades is to wait and see how they’ve played out in the long term.

Well, it’s now been over five years since this trade came about, so why not take a look at it now?

Let’s start with the export of the trade by the Edmonton Oilers, Taylor Hall.

He started his time with the Devils by suffering from some injuries but still managed to hit the 20 goal mark (barely, as he got exactly 20) and 53 points, a 12 point decrease from his last season in Edmonton. Larsson, meanwhile, was a rock on D for the Oilers as they made the playoffs for the first time in 11 years.

Advantage Oilers.

But then Hall had his career season after that, scoring 39 goals and 93 points, winning the 2018 Hart trophy in the process.

Advantage Devils.

However, after that the wheels completely fell off of Taylor Hall’s career. The best he’s been able to do since then has been 11 goals, and only 37 points. You’d think that he’d use that banner season to build off of, but no that never happened, as it appears injuries entered the picture much more intensely.

He never played more than 33 games in a season for the Devils after that.

Wanting to go into a rebuild part two, the Devils traded Hall to Arizona for a king’s ransom. You could probably write a book on all the trades the Coyotes have mismanaged, but I digress.

He did pretty well in Arizona considering the limited amount of games he played, putting up 27 points in 35 games. But, seeing how much of a dumpster fire the Coyotes are as a franchise, and with his contract up, with injury issues and weak free agent market, he chose to sign for one year with the Buffalo Sabres for $8 million.

He had a terrible season for Buffalo, putting up only two goals and 19 points in 37 games before the Sabres shipped him off at the deadline to the Boston Bruins. He impressed there, on a much better team putting 14 points in 16 games, then five points in 11 playoff games (that was his third foray in the playoffs, after not getting a sniff with the Oilers, then one shot with the Devils and one shot with the Coyotes).

I’m guessing Hall has had his fill of making big money on lousy teams, as he recently re-signed with the Bruins at the rate of his old second contract, $6 million per season for four seasons. As a healthier player he probably could’ve commanded $10 million a season.

I wish Hall luck in that regard, except of course when he plays the Oilers.

But considering his injury history as of late, there’s risk that comes with this contract. Hall plays a rough and tumble power forward style of hockey, and that brand of hockey is harder on the body than a finesse game.

There’s no question when he’s healthy Hall is one of the top 10 or 20 forwards in the game. But, he’s only played a full season once in his 14 year career. That’s it, just once. You could call him a modern day version of Marian Gaborik.

He’s now at an age where all those injuries could catch up with him and he could be out of the game before his contract is up. But, Boston is a good team so if the investment pays off and gets the Bruins a cup before Hall’s career is up, then it’ll be worth it for both the player and the team.