As many of you may have seen in Advice Wanted: Accepting The Taylor Hall Trade I wasn’t too sure how to take the trading of Taylor Hall. After a day to forget about it and then come back, I’m pretty sure I’ve come to terms with it.
It was a one for one, sure, and maybe that makes it better instead of worse in a sense. The Oilers didn’t need to fight for draft picks. They’ve had so many first overall picks and gained nothing that the league probably sent a memo to other teams saying “don’t give them any picks in a trade unless they also ask for a member of your development staff in the deal”. They probably would have been looking at a second player, and they don’t just need ANY player. They need to spend more money on less quantity and more quality. So this deal really does make sense in freeing some money and also taking in only one cap hit on the return.
As many have pointed out, this money will hopefully be used on Milan Lucic. The Oilers have several Taylor Hall-esque players at the moment that are instead playing like Betty White, and Lucic is a Snickers. If the likes of Eberle, RNH and Puoliot can’t up their compete level being around that guy then nothing will ever change them.
Also, Chiarelli did initiate a culture change last season. The core group of underachievers finally realized maybe their jobs weren’t safe. In Taylor Hall Is Finally Low Risk, High Reward I did point out that he was one of the main responders to the on ice call. But that would mean he’d bring in the highest return.
And let’s not forget what happened at the draft. I can’t even begin to explain how happy I was we got Puljujarvi instead of Matthew Tkatchuk, (although these might help…Is Matthew Tkachuk Too Much Of A Draft Risk?, Matthew Tkachuk Needs To Settle Down, and Screaming Eagle Pierre-Luc Dubois Drafted 3rd Overall)
With McDavid, Eberle, Lucic, Draisatl, Pouliot, and RNH, that’s a pretty darn good top 6. If Yakupov can buy into a different role and settle in among Maroon and Hendricks for example, there’s a possible legitimate three line scoring threat because it’s a much better mix of player instead of 5 or 6 cookie cutter players. It should make the team overall harder to match against for other teams which may ease the amount of pressure on the bottom three D as opposing coaches need to be more choosy on when to put out their top line.
They could still make another deal of, say, Eberle or RNH or Yakupov to try and get another defenceman and that would still be ok because Puljujarvi can step right in. What they can’t do is trade Draisatl or any of the other tougher players. The battle is going to make or break this team and they don’t have enough of it yet for it to be expendable.
Of course, I’m basing a lot of my hope for team depth and development of the other core players on a Lucic signing. I won’t go so far as to say that if they sign Lucic it was like Hall was essentially traded for Larsson and Lucic. He wasn’t part of that deal and could have been acquired anyway. But I will say that it makes the Hall deal more logical for a long term plan (see How Nintendo Proves Oilers Should Sign Lucic)
If Lucic ends up back in LA, a guy like Ladd or Backes might help too but Lucic is the ideal for me. So for the time being I’ll support the decision and see what happens tomorrow.
Who’s with me?