Oilers GM justifies Hall trade, even if Larsson isn’t a ‘sexy defenseman’

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If you judge a trade based on the resumes at hand, the New Jersey Devils soundly won in getting Taylor Hall from the Edmonton Oilers for Adam Larsson. Some even label it a “landslide win.”

Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli gets that. Even so, he insists that the “need-based trade” justifies the “unfortunate” price of parting ways with Taylor Hall.

Back when he was hired in April 2015, Chiarelli spoke of “the sacrifices that it takes to win.” One sacrifice was telling a disappointed Hall that he wouldn’t be part of the solution.

Yes, Chiarelli comes out and says it: Larsson isn’t a “sexy defenseman.” Chiarelli admits that he could still improve his skating and that he’s useful – but not explosive – from an offensive standpoint.

A “terrific” 2015-16 season, Larsson’s potential at age 23 and some meat-and-potatoes skills have the Swede penciled in as a big-minutes, top-pairing guy by Chiarelli’s estimation.

“I feel he’s barely scratched the surface,” Chiarelli said. “He moves the puck, defends well. He can log a lot of minutes and match up against all the top forwards.”

Still, some of the most intriguing moments of the presser came when the Oilers GM didn’t totally sugarcoat the drawbacks of the trade.

At least Chiarelli is acknowledging the glaring difference in their play up to this moment.

It’s all about needs and potential, even if Hall is knee-deep in his own prime at 24.

Speaking of potential, seeing Jesse Puljujarvi fall to the Oilers at the fourth pick in 2016 helped inspire the move as adding a defenseman became even “more urgent.”

For better or worse, the Oilers are willing to take the heat to make this “need-based trade.”