Some are calling it the craziest 23 minutes in NHL history.
From 3:34-3:57 p.m. Wednesday, the Devils acquired 2010 No. 1 overall draft pick Taylor Hall from the Oilers in a straight-up deal for defenseman Adam Larsson; the Canadiens and Predators swapped All-Star defensemen in a straight-up deal, Montreal sending P.K. Subban to Nashville for Shea Weber; and Steven Stamkos re-signed with the Lightning.
The shock value of the trades made Stamkos' decision almost pale in significance.
• What is Edmonton doing? That reaction dominated after the Oilers sent Hall, a 24-year-old left wing with an 80-point season, to New Jersey for a 23-year-old defenseman who has had a rocky start to his career after being selected fourth overall in 2011.
Almost every one of the Oilers' young, skilled forwards has been mentioned in trade rumors as the team's string of playoff-less season grows, but an emotional Hall admitted the move caught him offguard after six losing seasons in Edmonton.
"I felt I did everything I could there, so it's pretty hard not to feel slighted … with the way everything shook out," he said. "That's hockey."
What seemed to bother Hall most was that he felt like the trade focused the blame for the losing on him.
"I don't want to sound like I am not excited to join New Jersey," Hall said. "That's not the case. I'm a proud person, and I take this as an indictment of me as a hockey player. I don't think there is any other way to treat it. I think it's safe to say I am a very motivated player right now."
Edmonton general manager Peter Chiarelli said he had been looking for a top-notch defenseman and getting Larsson required paying a price.
The Devils, who have missed the playoffs the past four seasons, have not had a top-notch scorer since Ilya Kovalchuk returned to Russia in 2013. Hall had 132 goals and 196 assists in 381 games for Edmonton.
"He really changes the dynamic of our team and how we are going to play," Devils GM Ray Shero said.
• What is Montreal doing? That reaction dominated after Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin sent Subban, 27 and the 2013 Norris Trophy winner as the league's top defenseman, to Nashville for Weber, who turns 31 next month, a defensive defenseman and power-play quarterback who plays a lot of hard minutes.
Subban said he was not surprised by the trade because there had been many rumors of one since he signed a $72 million, eight-year deal in 2014. The offensive-minded defenseman was not always the favorite of coach Michel Therrien and others in the organization despite his playmaking ability. Still, Bergevin said trading Subban was "one of the most difficult decisions" he has had to make.
The Canadiens are getting a defenseman "with tremendous leadership" who will improve their defense and power play, Bergevin said.
Subban said he felt "a whole lot closer" to winning a Stanley Cup after the trade and was happy "to be in a situation where I can excel and feel good about myself" at the rink every day.
Weber, a three-time Norris Trophy finalist, had been with Nashville since the start of his career in 2005. He signed a $110 million, 14-year offer sheet with Philadelphia as a restricted free agent in 2012, but Nashville matched it to keep him.
Nashville GM David Poile said the trade was first discussed at the draft last weekend in Buffalo. It was worth giving up Weber for "an elite offensive defenseman with tremendous skill and contagious energy," he said.