Please recall the offseason of 2016.
The Oilers were turning the lights out of Rexall Place. Connor McDavid had wrapped up a rookie campaign that was first destined to see him win rookie of the year honours, but it was cut short midway by a broken collarbone. The Oilers finished the season out of the playoffs with an abysmal 70 points, good for last in the West.
The 2016 offseason was filled with surprises! If you’ve followed the club for any length of time, most were in the range of “very bad” to “tremendously awful”. Peter Chiarelli traded two good draft picks in the deepest NHL draft in a decade to the Islanders for Griffin Reinhart. The club signed Milan Lucic to a seven year deal valued at 42 million dollars and a NMC. Oh, and the club traded superstar forward Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils for Adam Larsson.
The Oilers have traded Taylor Hall— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) June 29, 2016
We can extol virtues about the return of Adam Larsson until the cows come home. and there will no doubt be a level of dissent between many. The Oilers made the playoffs in 2016-17 for the first time in eighty four years. That’s good! But we’re nearly 200 words in now and let’s get to the point.
There’s no way that this should have happened, and there’s time to make it right. That time is this season. The Devils playoff chances slip away a little bit more every week, and the Oilers ought to be pushing hard to reacquire a player who’s not only scored a point a game since being dealt, but was a league MVP in the 2017-18 season.
Getting Hall back would instantly give the Oilers so much more in their top six, which is already big business because it’s occupied by Connor McDavid and Leon Drasaitl. Lots of fans would welcome this trade. It’s hard to believe that there are some folks who aren’t into it.
“THERE WAS A REASON HE WAS TRADED ONCE ALREADY”
The Oilers were bereft of right shot NHL Defencemen™ when this deal was made. Credit to New Jersey’s Ray Shero when it all went down, he got Taylor Hall out of Edmonton for a middle pair blueliner. Adam Larsson came in and immediately helped shore up the right side, but it was easily a deal that saw the Oilers pay a dollar for about fifty cents worth of material.
“THE OILERS ARE IN FIRST PLACE IN THE PACIFIC! WE DON’T NEED TAYLOR HALL!”
You just won a hundred dollars on a lotto ticket! You’ll never have to work again, just keep winning money on the lottery!
I love how the Oilers are atop the Pacific right now. It’s pretty killer. You know what’s even nicer? Having another player who can help take some heat off of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Hall can certainly be right at home on one of the two power play lines while 97 and 29 tear it up on the first unit.
“TAYLOR HALL IS GOING TO COST TOO MUCH TO ACQUIRE / SIGN”
I can at least wrap my head around this argument. I mean, league-MVPs don’t get sold for draft picks. The best plan of action? Rent first, then try to buy.
Taylor Hall is in the last year of his seven year, 42 million dollar deal that he signed back while with the Edmonton Oilers. The Devils aren’t doing well at all, and he’s going to get moved.
What do you offer? A deal with some cap going back to the Devils will almost certainly need to be part of the mix. Would something like Adam Larsson and the rights to Jesse Puljujarvi get this done? Would a draft pick help push the river? The Devils have a first rounder (which will be a high one) but don’t pick again until round four in 2020. Even then, the Oilers will need to move money around in order to fit Hall under the cap as a rental.
2020 AND BEYOND
If I’m Holland, I’m all-in on Hall. I make the deal above (or something like it) and then free up cap to make this work in 2020 and beyond. They’ll have to move money and figure out what they’re going to do with regards to Darnell Nurse, Matt Benning, Joel Persson, Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones and about eight other UFA forwards along with Taylor Hall’s deal. That’s quite a task, but Holland figured out a way to move Milan Lucic’s deal. That was cool.
Can Holland make all this work? I don’t know. I don’t even know if he would want to. But he should be absolutely kicking tires right now. Probably wouldn’t hurt to check under the hood, too. Get Hall, get to the playoffs, then work on a deal.