By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Peter Chiarelli must have Equinophobia. He seems to want no part of horses.
Chiarelli entered the 2016 offseason with the same pressing need for his Edmonton Oilers as the Bruins: a top-four defenseman (or better). He may have gotten it when he acquired Adam Larsson from the Devils. The problem is, Chiarelli gave up left wing Taylor Hall to get him. The same Taylor Hall who was drafted No. 1 in 2010 just before Tyler Seguin (whom Chiarelli also traded), scored 80 points just two seasons ago as a 22-year-old, and even posted career-best numbers in those much-ballyhooed puck possession metrics last season.
Nope. Can’t have that dude.
Whatever Chiarelli’s reason was for choosing Hall as the trade chip over other players on the Oilers roster, like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, or Nail Yakupov, there’s no doubt that he has lost another trade involving a stud.
As for the return on the deal, Larsson does fill the Oilers’ desperate need for good defense and has a chance to develop into a No. 1 guy for Edmonton – but he has untapped potential that Hall himself has mostly already tapped. There’s no doubt that Chiarelli could have wrung a little more out of the Devils in a trade for Hall, a much more established player than Larsson. Chiarelli has also earned the dubious distinction of being the first GM in history to trade both of the top two picks from the same draft with two different teams.
Thus, Chiarelli took a beating on Twitter in the immediate aftermath of the Hall trade and continues to take the heat on Thursday.
Even the NHL ’16 video game computer would have rejected the trade for the Oilers…
In the wake of Chiarelli’s sudden trade of yet another star player, fans now shudder to think what Chiarelli thinks of last year’s No. 1 pick, Connor McDavid, a generational talent who could already be on the cusp of taking over the league. It’s already being reported that McDavid found it “upsetting” to see Hall, one of his mentors as a rookie, go to another team. TSN’s Craig Custance tweeted during the draft on Saturday that Chiarelli told him the market was “softening” for a top defenseman. So what in the world was Chiarelli being asked for last week?
Needless to say, fans are on edge now that they got their first big taste of what I’m coining “Chiarellinomics.”
Of course, Chiarelli would be a lunatic to trade McDavid right now, or possibly ever – but he’s running out of leeway for fans to believe that he’s anything but incompetent. Hold onto your butts, Edmonton, because Chiarelli isn’t done making moves and he’s clearly not afraid to deal young talent.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. His opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.