23-Year-Old Defenseman – Edmonton Oilers
Adam Larsson Contract Information:
Signed a six-year, $25 million contract with the Devils in July 2015. Traded to Edmonton in June of 2016.
Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli has faced criticism for acquiring Larsson at the expense of shipping star forward Taylor Hall to the Devils on Wednesday. “In the last four or five months I’ve been public in saying we have to shore up our defence,” said Chiarelli in a report by the Edmonton Journal. “We pounded the pavement and this is the price you have to pay."
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Adam Larsson: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Signed to a six-year extension in the offseason, it’s clear the Devils have faith in Larsson moving forward. The Swedish defenseman set a career high with 24 points in 64 games last season, emerging as a legitimate threat on an offensively challenged Devils team. The 22-year-old has size (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) and pedigree (No. 4 overall pick in 2011) on his side, but it’s hard to see him posting whopping numbers on a team that annually lacks offensive talent at the forward spot. If he can stay healthy, Larsson, who averaged 20:57 of ice time in 2014-15, can threaten or surpass 30 points in spite of his unfavorable team context. In addition to his scoring totals, Larsson pitched in with a respectable 92 hits and 120 blocks, demonstrating that he can be the Devils' No. 1 defenseman both now and for years to come.
Will this be the year that the 2011 No. 4 overall pick makes the jump and shows the potential he’s long been rumored to have? Larsson saw limited action with the Devils last season, playing 26 games and registering just a goal and an assist over that span. Larsson will turn 22 in November and should see more ice time this season with the departure of Mark Fayne and Anton Volchenkov. He will need to demonstrate consistency defensively to stay in the lineup, as coach Peter DeBoer has a short leash with young defenders. Larsson is worth a gamble in deep leagues and keeper leagues; just be sure to monitor his ice time.
Larsson is entering his third NHL season and the Devils are waiting for 2011's fourth-overall pick to mature into the player they believed they drafted. Larsson again saw himself in and out of the lineup during the lockout-shortened season, playing 37 games and grabbing six assists with 48 shots on goal. He has shown flashes of offensive ability but doesn't shoot often. He has the most upside of any Devils' defensemen but how much power play time he will see remains a question due to the presence of Marek Zidlicky and Andy Greene. As was the case last season, Larsson's value remains higher in keeper leagues.
Much hype surrounded Adam Larsson after being the fourth-overall pick of the 2011 draft, as he drew comparisons to everyone from Nicklas Lidstrom and Devils’ assistant coach Scott Stevens. Larsson turned 19 during last season and he definitely experienced a learning curve coming from the Swedish Elite League. Larsson finished the season with 18 points and a minus-7 rating while seeing himself in and out of the lineup at times, playing in 65 games, but he played in just five of New Jersey’s 24 playoff games this past spring. Larsson remains a developing talent with great potential, but expect him to continue to experience a few bumps this season. Still, he should challenge the 20-25 point mark, provided he can shore up his defensive-zone play.
Larsson was the fourth overall pick and the top-rated defender in this year's draft after distinguishing himself at the World Junior Championships. Larsson brings an all-around skillset to the Devils and will have every opportunity to make the squad, but he's not expected to light it up offensively. Instead, he's a heady player that has drawn comparisons to Nick Lidstrom and Victor Hedman, as he has the potential to be a franchise defender. However, all these intangibles don't necessarily translate to fantasy production. Larsson's a talent, but rookie defensemen typically don't offer much to those outside of keeper leagues. Remember his name, just don't call it too early.