Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli has faced criticism for acquiring Larsson at the expense of shipping star forward Taylor Hall to the Devils on Wednesday. "In the last four or five months I've been public in saying we have to shore up our defence," said Chiarelli in a report by the Edmonton Journal. "We pounded the pavement and this is the price you have to pay." This deal certainly took the hockey world by storm, given that it was a one-for-one swap with Hall, the first overall draft pick in 2010, widely considered the more talented player relative to the different positions. Still, as noted in the report, the Oilers desperately needed to acquire a right-shooting blueliner this offseason and they get that with Larsson, a 23-year-old whose contract has an average annual value of $4.16 million and lasts through 2020-21 -- in comparison, Hall has four years remaining with an AAV of $6 million, so the Oilers also saved some cap space in the deal ahead of the July 1 signing period.
Larsson has been traded to the Oilers in a straight player-for-player trade by the Devils in exchange for Taylor Hall. Larsson will add some much needed help on the Edmonton blue line which struggled last season. In New Jersey, the 23-year-old registered three goals and 15 helpers, although he did end the campaign on a 21-game goal drought. What the defenseman lacks in offensive firepower, he makes up for as a critical penalty killer. Larsson averaged 3:21 in shorthanded ice time and will likely continue to fill that role at the newly minted Rogers Place.
Larsson snapped his 13-game scoreless streak Tuesday with an empty-net goal, an assist and a plus-3 rating in a win over the Rangers. Well, that was unexpected. It'd been more than a month since the young Swede had notched a point, dating back to Jan. 19 against Calgary. Of course, Larsson's impressive stat line got a big boost from the empty-netter, a type of goal that's notoriously easier to score than the ones where, y'know, a goalie's in the way. It's nice that he skates heavy minutes, but Larsson's fantasy value is largely limited to the hits and blocks he piles up in defense of Cory Schneider's net.
Larsson (illness) will play Tuesday against the Penguins, Rich Chere of the Newark Star-Ledger reports. Larsson wasn't feeling well Monday, and didn't practice as a result, but was never in serious danger of not suiting up for Tuesday's game against Pittsburgh. The former first-round pick, who has tallied 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) in 49 games this season, is expected to be paired with Andy Greene in Tuesday's tilt.
Larsson missed practice Monday due to an illness, but coach John Hynes indicated after practice that he's "planning on" him playing Tuesday against the Penguins, Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger reports. Larsson and fellow blueliner David Schlemko both missed practice Monday because of illness, and an absence from either of the two Tuesday could prompt a recall from the club's AHL affiliate with only six defensemen currently on the roster. Expect another update on Larsson's stat at some point Tuesday, confirming whether or not he will dress for the evening's contest.
Last 7 Games
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