Adam Larsson was taken with the No. 4 pick in the 2011 NHL draft. He made strides going from his rookie to his sophomore season, even with the lack of training camp. He is poised to really break out, this being his third year in the league. What should we expect from the third year Swede?
Since the loss of Brian Rafalski and Paul Martin, the New Jersey Devils have been looking for a No. 1 guy in the back end. The past couple of years they have had players like Andy Greene, Marek Zidlicky and Anton Volchenkov play well and Bryce Salvador is their captain, but none of those players seemed to stand out when they were on the ice. They haven’t had anything near to when they could throw out Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer. People have that kind of hope for Larsson. Is he ready to be “the guy”?
Year three is when most athletes get into their professional prime. However, most athletes don’t start their career at 18 years old. Larsson is looking to lead the Devils defensive corps before he is able to legally drink in America.
Another staple in this situation is the fact the Larsson is playing for his first big NHL contract, which he will sign at the tender age of 21 years old. He is looking to be the face of this franchise for a long time. He has all the makings of a No. 1 defenseman. With Stevens now on the coaching staff for a full season, most analysts project him to start using that 6’3” frame to his advantage. He has a powerful shot that could help on the second team power play behind Zidlicky. He rarely ever allows a break for the other team and knows how to play when he is outnumbered.
Larsson has all the tools to take over this team on the defensive side. He could be a the kind of all around defender that every team needs. He is going to make the jump into greatness this season. The Devils won’t have to worry too much about signing him in the offseason as they are still working on Adam Henrique‘s contract and no other team seems to even make the notion of thinking about making a contract offer.
Even more, true defensive star for the St. Louis Blues, Alex Pietrangelo, also a fourth overall pick, has been working on a contract all offseason, but no other team has tried to offer a contract to an elite 23-year-old player. That is good news since the Devils will be looking to make a contract that works for both sides.
This is going to be Larsson’s team sooner rather than later. The question is, how soon? He is going to start on the first line defense this season. He is going to make his push to be the defensive stalwart the Devils thought he would be. This is going to be a big year for Larsson and the Devils.