Oilers coach has no problem with Taylor Hall trade: ‘We needed to shore up a hole’

AP
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Picture a man who’s lost in the desert, wandering aimlessly, dying of thirst.

Now imagine somebody rides up on a camel and offers to sell that man a bottle of water, but the price is $100.

It’s a lot to pay for a bottle of water.

The alternative, however, is more aimless wandering, in hopes of finding a better deal for the one thing you really, really need.

That, essentially, is how the Edmonton Oilers have justified trading Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson.

“It’s insanity if you keep banging your head against a wall,” said Oilers coach Todd McLellan, per the Edmonton Journal. “We needed to shore up a hole. I know there is a lot of talk about (losing) that dynamic offensive guy, but we also needed a good shutdown 20-minute-a-night guy, and we believe we have that in Larsson.

“We think we’ve added a No.1 and a No. 2. We’ve added (Oscar) Klefbom and Larsson to our lineup. We didn’t have Klefbom very long and Larsson’s coming in, so that’s a significant change. If they can stay healthy and play at a high level, we think we’ll be better back there.”

And to help replace Hall up front, now there’s Milan Lucic and Jesse Puljujarvi.

But the key will be Larsson. He needs to pan out, otherwise there’s no justifying what the Oilers gave up.

“I feel he’s barely scratched the surface,” GM Peter Chiarelli said of the 23-year-old former fourth overall draft pick. “He moves the puck, defends well. He can log a lot of minutes and match up against all the top forwards.”

The Oilers might not be done making moves either. Rumors continue to swirl about a potential Tyson Barrie acquisition from Colorado, and McLellan didn’t exactly quash the speculation that something like that could happen.

“I know Peter is not done constructing the team,” McLellan said. “We won’t know what our complete team is, probably, until late August.”

Related: The Wings’ search for a ‘top-three defenseman’ may last until training camp