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Edmonton Oilers' Taylor Hall (R) celebrates one of his three goals against the Vancouver Canucks with Corey Potter (L) during the first period of their NHL hockey game in Edmonton.DAN RIEDLHUBER/Reuters

The Oilers' jarring trade of Taylor Hall on Wednesday left nobody happy. General manager Peter Chiarelli sounded more resigned than pleased. Hall was upset. Fans were enraged. Even Adam Larsson, the young defenceman headed west from New Jersey, was surprised.

The 23-year-old Swede is all promise, while Hall was the best and second-most-beloved player in Edmonton.

"It is unfortunate that this is what you have to do," Chiarelli said during a news conference at Rexall Place. Bob Nicholson, the team's chief executive, stood watching at the back of the room, perhaps interested in the reaction. "The bottom line is that you have to pay a good price to get a good player, and that's what really happened. It's a need-based trade.

"There is a pedigree and a label attached to certain players and they are earned, and Taylor has that. The player that we acquired doesn't have that, just by virtue of his development curve. But he has the requisite skills, passion and size, and he is going to really help us."

The first player taken in the 2010 draft, Hall led the Oilers in scoring three of the past four seasons and was hoping to be part of a revival built around the spectacular teenager, Connor McDavid. The 19-year-old centre was a finalist for league rookie honours despite suffering a serious injury and missing 37 games.

"I spoke with Taylor earlier today and he was very disappointed," Chiarelli said. "He felt that he was part of the solution and I didn't disagree with him. I just told him this is a business, and you have to make hard decisions.

"Taylor has been a very good player, and he is a guy that leaves everything on the ice and I respect that. It is unfortunate to lose someone of [his] calibre, but we are getting a really good player back. I think you have to reserve judgment before you start the Twitter war. You have to give a little to get a little."

Hall acknowledged being upset during a teleconference call arranged with reporters. He had 328 points in 381 games with the Oilers, who have now missed the playoffs for 10 straight years.

"I certainly do feel a bit slighted by the whole thing," Hall, 24, said. "I feel I have been a good soldier for six years and did everything I could to help make the team win. It shows you can be moved and have to be ready for anything.

"It is disappointing, but I am excited to play for a team that wants me."

The fourth player taken in the 2011 draft, Larsson has spent five seasons with the Devils and has 69 points in 274 career games. He just completed his best season, playing an average of 22 minutes and showing significant improvement along the way.

"I was in shock when I got traded, but I am excited now," Larsson said. "Edmonton has a lot of good things going on. It is a really good young team."

The Oilers' biggest need is on defence, which Chiarelli hoped to shore up at last weekend's NHL draft. When that failed to occur, he began talking more earnestly with the Devils about Larsson.

"We have been in a number of discussions at a number of levels with a number of teams, but this is one that makes sense for us," said Chiarelli, who is in his second season as the Oilers' GM. As general manager in Boston, he traded Tyler Seguin and Phil Kessel. "It was a critical part of our team we needed to improve, and we had to move on this."

Los Angeles tough guy Milan Lucic was in town for a visit this week, and it is possible the Oilers will announce on Friday that they've reached agreement with him. There is probably no player in the NHL better suited to help protect McDavid.

More interest is being expressed in the team now thanks to the star centre, with several other players brought in Tuesday for discussions in hopes of further bolstering the defence.

Signing Lucic and making another significant acquisition would take some of the sting out of trading Hall, a move that was not being well-received by the Oilers' passionate fans in the immediate hours afterward.

One caller after another to the afternoon talk show Oilers Now questioned the move and berated the general manager.

"It looks like Chiarelli undervalues talent," one caller complained to the show's host, Bob Stauffer.

"I have been a fan of the Oilers since their World Hockey Association days," another said. "It's a sad day to see what's going on here."