Last night Taylor Hall won the Hart Trophy as the MVP of the National Hockey League. Personally, I think it probably should have been MacKinnon to bring home the hardware but that’s besides the point. Taylor Hall won the Hart Trophy the year after Connor McDavid took home the honor last year. McDavid was a 1st overall pick for the Edmonton Oilers in 2015. Hall was a 1st overall pick for the Edmonton Oilers in 2010. Back-to-back Harts for the Edmonton Oilers draft picks. Not too shabby. That is, of course, until you remember that Taylor Hall was traded to the New Jersey Devils on June 29, 2016 in exchange for Adam Larsson and Adam Larsson only.
Now obviously hindsight is 20/20. And the Oilers still addressed a need on the blueline with Larsson in that trade. Larsson has been playing top-pair minutes for the Oilers so far. He’s not exactly in the Norris Trophy conversation at all but he’s a fine player for sure. With that being said… Taylor Hall is the MVP of the league. OF THE LEAGUE. And Pete Chiarelli traded him for Adam Larsson and nothing else. Let’s just take a quick look back at the only other players who have won the Hart Trophy on a team which they got traded to.
- Mark Messier won the Hart in 1992 after getting dealt from the Edmonton Oilers to the New York Rangers. It was his 2nd time winning the Hart. In that trade, the Oilers brought back 3 players in return.
- Dominik Hasek won the Hart in back-to-back years from 1996-98. This was after he was dealt from the Chicago Blackhawks to the Buffalo Sabres. Now, to be fair, Hasek didn’t really play much for Chicago and he didn’t win the Hart until 5 years later. But even still, the Blackhawks brought back a player and a draft pick in return.
- Chris Pronger won the Hart in 2000 after getting dealt from the Hartford Whalers to the St. Louis Blues. That trade, like the Hall/Larsson trade, was also a 1 for 1 swap. However, coming back in return to Hartford was Brendan Shanahan. Not sure if you’ve ever heard of the guy or not but he’s currently in the Hockey Hall of Fame. So as far as 1-for-1’s go, that’s an even swap.
- Joe Thornton won the Hart in 2006 after getting dealt from the Boston Bruins to the San Jose Sharks. The Bruins got 3 players back in return from San Jose.
- And then, of course, there is Wayne Gretzky who won the Hart in 1989 after getting dealt from the Edmonton Oilers to the LA Kings. This was his 9th time winning the Hart and to be fair, there were some extenuating circumstances here considering the NHL pretty much forced the Oilers to trade Gretzky to LA so they could start to grow the game in California. But in return for Gretzky, the Oilers ended up getting 3 first round draft picks along with a couple of players.
Soooo yeah. Not that you should judge a trade solely based on the amount of pieces that come back the other way. But you have to imagine that Pete Chiarelli woke up this morning wishing that he could take a mulligan on that one. It’s tough to call it a fleece when you get back a top-pair defenseman in return. But when the other guy ends up winning the Hart just under 2 years later? CHIARELLI!!!!
P.S. – I need another day in my life like June 29, 2016. Hall to New Jersey. Subban/Weber Trade. Stamkos extension. What a rush those few hours were.
P.P.S. – Good for you, Hallsy. Always love to see a supremely athletic, supremely good looking guy finally catch a break in life.