There’s been some talk this week that the Oilers are out in the market looking for a defenseman. Needing a shutdown player that is experienced and doesn’t panic under pressure might be GM Ken Holland’s priority and Adam Larsson’s name has popped up a few times considering he was exactly the type of player the franchise could now use. This isn’t to suggest that Seattle would move Larsson. This is more a look back at the player and to point out how undervalued he was by the fan base at that time. Edmonton needs to find another Larsson.
Jim Matheson wrote today on Twitter, “That Chiarelli Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson trade in the harsh light of day, doesn’t look so bad now. Hall did win an MVP for sure and good on him in his Jersey days, but today Hall is a very good support player on Bruins and Larsson is a very good shutdown D in Seattle…”
Larsson had a good run with the Edmonton Oilers after he was acquired from the New Jersey Devils in a trade for Hall. He had been a steady presence on the team’s defense and was known for his physical play, shot-blocking ability, and his ability to play in the team’s penalty kill. He was also a positive influence on the team’s younger defensemen. On the other hand, Hall had a great career with Edmonton as one of the perceived core members of a new era. He didn’t pan out and was moved to the Devils, where he established himself as one of the league’s elite offensive players, winning the Hart Trophy as league MVP in the 2017-2018 season. He has consistently put up impressive point totals and has been a key contributor to both the Devils, Arizona Coyotes, and Boston Bruins offense while part of their respective organizations. Both players have had a positive impact on their respective teams, but in different ways. The trade was a win-win.
Larsson Might Be the More Important Player Today
Today, both are still effective. Larsson is a solid defensive defenseman who is playing a pivotal role in Seattle and shutting down opposing forwards. He is not known for his offensive production, but he can chip in with the occasional goal or assist. It’s the kind of production the Oilers could absolutely use right now.
The Oilers have struggled defensively in recent years, which has hindered their ability to compete for a Stanley Cup. Despite having a strong core of offensive talent, led by players like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, the team has not been able to keep the puck out of their own net consistently. Improving the team’s defense and goaltending will be crucial for the Oilers to take the next step and contend for a Stanley Cup in 2023. That has placed a lot of pressure on Holland’s shoulders when it comes to this year’s NHL Trade Deadline.
In order to achieve this, the team may look to make trades or free agent signings to bolster their defensive corps, and also focus on developing young defensive prospects in their system. If you look at the prices for defensemen heading into this year’s NHL Trade Deadline, it shows just how valuable a player like Larsson might be right now.
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