The Oilers-Devils trade was one of two major one-for-one trades that took place that day, the other being P.K. Subban for Shea Weber just 17 minutes later. Despite the evidence of June 29, one-for-one trades are exceedingly rare in today’s NHL.
In honor of Hall’s return to Edmonton, let’s take a look at some of the more notable one-for-one swaps of the past decade:
February 26, 2008 – Andrew Ladd for Tuomo Ruutu — The Chicago Blackhawks and Carolina Hurricanes swapped former top-ten picks at the 2007-08 trade deadline. Nearly nine years later, the trade can be classified as a win for the Blackhawks: Ruutu did score 216 points in 378 games with the Hurricanes but the team only made the playoffs once in his tenure there. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks were just two years away from winning the first Stanley Cup of their modern dynasty; with a Stanley Cup already under his belt, Ladd played a key role in helping the young Hawks learn how to win. Ladd scored 99 points 184 games in Chicago before being sacrificed to the Salary Cap Gods after their 2010 championship.
July 3, 2011 – Dany Heatley for Martin Havlat — Heatley and Havlat were both superstars of the early 21st-century, but neither player was at that level in 2011 when the Sharks and Wild made this trade. The Sharks were looking to improve their roster with hopes of getting to the Stanley Cup Finals after yet another playoff disappointment, but Havlat appeared in just eight playoff games over three years in San Jose. He never played more than 48 games in a season, or scored more than 27 points. Heatley had 82 and 64 points in his two years in San Jose, but was unable to consistently score in Minnesota, finishing his three-year stint with a 28-point season, his last full season in the NHL. Heatley also caused salary cap troubles, as he was unable to be bought-out after his second season due to injury, costing the Wild their last chance to use a compliance buyout on the declining Heatley.
June 23, 2012 – James Van Riemsdyk for Luke Schenn — Maple Leafs fans hoping for their team to trade Van Riemsdyk for a top defenseman may want to look at the trade that brought the power winger to Toronto. Then-GM Brian Burke traded Schenn, a right-handed third-pairing defenseman just four seasons removed from being the fifth-overall selection. Both players were coming off down seasons, as Schenn struggled in a third-pairing role while Van Riemsdyk scored 24 points in 43 games after a 40-point sophomore season. The trade was a clear win for Toronto, as Van Riemsdyk has 211 points in 289 games as a first-line winger while Schenn scored 42 points in 213 games in Philadelphia as a below-average possession player. Schenn was traded last season and signed a cheap show-me deal with Arizona as a UFA. The trade is yet another example of the trade values of average defensemen and scoring wingers.
January 6, 2016 – Seth Jones for Ryan Johansen — The major trade was the first big one-for-one trade in nearly four years, and was a sign of things yet to come in 2016. While it’s too early to declare a definitive winner, as both teams look like they got what they needed with the swap, the early results put Columbus slightly ahead. Jones has 38 points in 75 games so far with the surprising Blue Jackets, who currently sit in first place in NHL standings. The Predators haven’t been as successful as they would have hoped, though Johansen has 63 points in 83 games in Music City. He’s growing into a legitimate first-line center on a contending team, which is what the Predators hoped for when they made the swap. Nashville GM David Poile was initially criticized for trading his young defenseman as Shea Weber showed signs of regression, but that was addressed by on of the below trades.
June 29, 2016 – Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson — The decision to trade Hall was not popular at the time, and is still the most talked-about trade in Edmonton since Chris Pronger asked for a trade in 2006. The Oilers have finally turned the corner and currently sit in third in the Pacific Division. Larsson is a big part of the much-improved defense core, but has just seven points in 43 games. Hall is leading the Devils in scoring with 25 points in 32 games, but the Devils’ offense has not been able to outscore their defensive issues. It must be frustratingly familiar for Hall, who was in a similar situation in Edmonton for six seasons. While the Oilers gave up value, it could be argued that the Devils miss Larsson’s defensive ability more than Edmonton misses Hall’s offence.
June 29, 2016 — Shea Weber for P.K. Subban — After a tough 2015-16, changes were expected in Montreal. But few expected Subban to be the one to go. Like the Hall-Larsson trade made 17 minutes earlier, the Canadian team was panned initially. However, Weber is on pace for a career-high in points while the Canadiens have rebounded to lead the Atlantic Division at the half-way point. Unfortunately for Subban, he’s been injured for much of the season and may require surgery. The Canadiens are the winners of this trade six months in, but considering the four years Weber has on Subban, the verdict will slowly change over the next few years. If either one of these teams win a Stanley Cup in the next few years, that would likely be the deciding factor in naming a winner.