It is unclear what Adam Larsson has done to work his way out of the lineup for six of the New Jersey Devils‘ first 26 games, but Peter DeBoer clearly does not trust his talented young defenseman.
The fourth overall pick two years ago, and the silver lining to the worst New Jersey Devils season in recent memory, has posted decent numbers while dazzling in fleeting moments with endless potential. Adam Larsson displays good vision on offense, makes smart decisions with the puck, and provides a consistent presence from the point.
Larsson can skate and move the puck, he’s good for 20 solid minutes each night, and he’s starting to be more physical. On offense, Larsson might be the biggest production threat the New Jersey Devils have – like a young Marek Zidlicky without the two-on-one breaks from bad pinches.
Adam Larsson has posted a +2 rating, which is better than five of the other seven New Jersey Devils defensemen that have seen ice time this year. The aforementioned Zidlicky is a -6 and responsible for countless odd-man rushes this year. Captain Bryce Salvador is a -5 on the season.
If the fact that the New Jersey Devils score more goals than they allow with Larsson on the ice isn’t enough to earn him playing time, the futility of the other New Jersey Devils defensemen should. DeBoer has rotated ineffective combinations of Salvador, Zidlicky, Henrik Tallinder, and Anton Volchenkov during the New Jersey Devils slump. Speed alone should be enough to keep Larsson on the ice when compared to the slow, aging bodies that DeBoer seems to prefer.
While Larsson is certainly making mistakes, particularly when he is required to clear bigger bodies out of the crease, he is the lesser of several evils in Peter DeBoer‘s defensive rotation for the New Jersey Devils.